Home Press releases & statements 118 Syrian Organizations Call on the International Community to Assume Responsibility towards Afrin and all of Syria

118 Syrian Organizations Call on the International Community to Assume Responsibility towards Afrin and all of Syria

The undersigned organizations demand; an immediate end to massive human rights violations in Afrin and all of Syria, fair accountability for perpetrators, safe and dignified return of original residents, and demographic change cessation

by bassamalahmed
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Turkish Soldiers with SNA fighters in the city of Afrin during the "Operation Olive Branch" in 2018. Source: Anadolu Images.

Five years have passed since Turkish military forces and a coalition of Türkiye-backed Syrian armed groups took over the entire district of Afrin in northern Syria. Living under occupation, locals of Afrin have been subjected to countless violations on a daily basis. The ongoing violations and the inflicted constant fear forced tens of thousands of civilians to flee their homes without any hope of imminent return.

The Afrin offensive was simultaneous with another by the Syrian government forces and their Russian allies against Eastern Ghouta. Regime troops and allies recaptured Ghouta from rebels, after a blistering assault, which killed hundreds and ended in a Russia and Türkiye-brokered surrender deal. The deal transferred tens of thousands of opposition fighters and original residents out of the area and resettled them in parts of Syria’s north, including Afrin.

Independent international organizations and United Nations committees documented violations of various kinds in Afrin, including killing in unlawful attacks, arbitrary detention, enforced disappearance, ill-treatment, torture, looting, and confiscation of property. Furthermore, hindering the return of displaced original residents, especially the Kurds, as well as acts of Turkification and demographic change have been monitored.

Lack of accountability for these grave human rights violations, in addition to the persistence of impunity make the Turkish-occupied territories completely unsafe, and do not comply with the criteria of voluntary return set by the United Nations. All this while almost 70% of Afrin’s original residents are still forcibly displaced since 2018.

In its latest report, issued on 7 March 2023, the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic confirmed the continuation of arbitrary arrests and detentions by the Syrian National Army (SNA) in Afrin. The Commission confirmed that witnesses interviewed for the purpose of the report revealed cases of beating, torture, and ill-treatment in places of detention and during interrogations, with the presence of Turkish officials. In addition, the Commission’s report cited cases of civilian property seizure with reports from interviewees of being prevented from regaining access to their properties and threatened if they tried to claim them back. Furthermore, the Commission said that it continued documenting cases of rape and other forms of sexual violence, perpetrated by SNA members, including of children.

As an occupying power, Türkiye has not assumed its responsibilities in areas under its influence in northern Syria, including Afrin. No real action has been taken by the Turkish authorities to ensure the protection of civilians; Türkiye rather gave its SNA proxies a free hand to commit human rights violations against the original residents of those areas. Even the National Coalition of Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces failed to stop the human rights violations of the SNA, which supposedly operates under it. Therefore, the undersigned organizations urge the UN Security Council to take the necessary measures; to provide appropriate conditions for the safe, dignified, and voluntary return of the residents of Afrin and all Syrians, to redress victims, and to punish perpetrators.

The signatory organizations make the recommendations below:

  1. The United Nations

To cease attempts of ignoring and circumventing the situation in Afrin and other Syrian parts occupied by Türkiye, and compel the latter to assume its responsibilities as an occupying power under international law.

  1. The Turkish Government
  • To stop politicizing the situation of northern Syria’s population and turning a blind eye to the human rights abuses that they have been subjected to. This is with the aim to evade recognizing the Turkish presence in Syria as an occupation; which has been already proven by international committees and human rights organizations citing Türkiye’s effective and direct control over northern Syrian territories.
  • To take all measures – within its authority – necessary to ensure public safety and order and provide special protection for women and children in the areas under its control and stop the gross violations of human rights that its forces and allied militias continue to commit against civilians.
  1. The Human Rights Council/The Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic: To provide a comprehensive and accurate briefing on the intertwined web of roles and interests of all foreign/external powers intervening in the Syrian conflict, and its reflection on the state of compliance with the International humanitarian law (IHL) international human rights law (IHRL).

Organizations and Associations Signing the Statement:

  1. Act for Afrin
  2. Adil Center for Human Righits
  3. Afrin Platform
  4. Afrinpost Network
  5. AIN SHAMS Organization
  6. ALAHD Organization
  7. Allied for Peace
  8. Al-Raja Organization for Relief and Development
  9. Al-Zajel Organization
  10. Amal Al-Furat organization
  11. Amal For Development
  12. Analysis and Strategic Study Organization ASO
  13. Anwar Al-Ghad Organization
  14. Aras Charity Association
  15. Areej Organisation
  16. Ashti Center for Peacebuilding
  17. Assyrian Society for Helping and Development
  18. AYADI Moubsra Organization
  19. Azdehar Organization
  20. Balsam Organization For Development
  21. Better Life Organization
  22. Better Tomorrow Organization
  23. Center Defanse
  24. Clemency Organization
  25. Community Solidarity Organaization
  26. DAN for Relief and Development
  27. dari Center
  28. Dawlaty
  29. Dijla Organization for Development and Environment
  30. Dya Al Aml Association
  31. Ebdaa Organization for Development
  32. Edraak Organization for Development and Peace
  33. Enlil Center
  34. Enma aljazera Organization
  35. Environment and Water Association (EWAS)
  36. Espoir Afrin
  37. Eternity
  38. Euphrates NGO
  39. Ezdina Organization
  40. Fariq Snnae al Mustaqbal
  41. FDO Organization
  42. For Feminist
  43. For Them Organisation
  44. Friends Charity Association
  45. Green Women’s Association
  46. Happy land
  47. Hdf Humanitarian
  48. Hevy for Relief and Development
  49. Hope Makers
  50. House of Citizenship Organisation
  51. Human Hope Team
  52. Human Rights organizations Afrin – Syria
  53. Human Rigts Organizatin In Jazeera
  54. Humanitarian and Development Cooperation
  55. Iwaa organizations
  56. Jian Charity Association
  57. Kesksyi Organization
  58. Khutwa Association
  59. Kurdische Gemeinschaft Herne ASO
  60. Kurdish Committee for Human Rights (RASSED)
  61. Kurdish Cultural Association of Geneva
  62. Kurdish Feminist Voices
  63. Kurdish Organization for Human Rights in Syria (DAD)
  64. Laila Initiative
  65. Lelun Association for Victims
  66. Lights for Development and Construction
  67. Manara Organization
  68. Mary Association for Culture, Arts and Environment
  69. Max Vison
  70. Nama Organization
  71. Nasmet Amal
  72. Nujin Society for Community
  73. Okkaz
  74. Oxygen Shabab
  75. PEACE SHE LEADERS NET WORK
  76. Peace tent
  77. PÊL- CIVIL WAVES
  78. Purity Organization
  79. Qadar Organization
  80. QRD Organization
  81. Qudwa Organization for Building and Development
  82. Ras Al Ain/Serê Kaniyê Platform
  83. Reng fore development
  84. Rescue and Relief taem
  85. RFD Organization
  86. Rights Defense Initiative
  87. RojHilat for Relief and Development
  88. Rose for Support and Empowerment
  89. ORG
  90. Sara Organization To Combat Violence Against Women
  91. Sawaed Development Organization
  92. Scsd
  93. Shar for development
  94. Share for Community Development
  95. Shawshka Women’s Association
  96. Shilan Association for Relief and Development
  97. Silav Organization for Civil Activities
  98. Society for Threatened Peoples GfbV/STP
  99. Stability Support Centre
  100. Synergy Association for Victims
  101. Syriac Cross Organization for Relief and Development
  102. Syrian Cancer Society
  103. Syrian Kurdish Journalists Network
  104. Syrians for Truth and Justice
  105. Taa marbouta
  106. Tara Organization
  107. Tel Abyad Forum for Civil Society
  108. The Leading Woman
  109. The Levant News
  110. The Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression
  111. Weqaya Association
  112. Wheat Olive Platfrom
  113. Women for Peace
  114. Women of Hope
  115. Youth For Change
  116. Youth Optimistic
  117. Zakon Organization
  118. Zameen for Development and Peacebuilding

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