SYRIA’S KUR­DISH REFUGEES CALL FOR IN­TER­NA­TIONAL COM­MU­NITY TO BACK TUR­KEY’S OF­FEN­SIVE

Daily Sabah (Turkey) - - Front Page -

SYR­IAN Kur­dish refugees, who took shel­ter in Tur­key af­ter flee­ing from the atroc­i­ties of the PKK ter­ror­ist group’s af­fil­i­ate, the Peo­ple’s Pro­tec­tion Units (YPG), ex­pressed their ap­pre­ci­a­tion and called for other coun­tries to sup­port Ankara’s ini­tia­tive to clear out north­ern Syria so they can re­turn to their homes.

“If we had not come to Tur­key, we would have been killed in Syria. We want other coun­tries to give sup­port to Tur­key for lib­er­at­ing our home­land [from ter­ror­ists],” Muham­mad Nuri, a Kur­dish lo­cal of Ayn al-Arab who took refuge in Tur­key, told Anadolu Agency (AA).

Nuri fur­ther un­der­scored that he and his seven chil­dren came to Tur­key seven years ago af­ter U.S.-backed YPG forces in­vaded the city, and they want to go back to their coun­try af­ter the war ends.

“We want to re­turn Ayn al-Arab when peace in the city is es­tab­lished. We would have suf­fered from the op­pres­sion of the YPG if we stayed there,” Hus­sein Es­bed, an­other Kur­dish refugee who was a Kur­dish teacher in Ayn al-Arab, said.

Point­ing out that he took shel­ter in Tur­key five years ago, Es­bed un­der­scored that al­though they are feel­ing very com­fort­able and ap­pre­ci­ated the help of Ankara, they want to re­turn to their home­land once the war is over.

Thank­ing Tur­key for its sup­port of the refugees, Mus­lim Had­dal, who fled to Tur­key along with his five chil­dren three years ago, also called for Tur­key and other coun­tries to help them re­turn to their homes.

Syr­ian Kurds have suf­fered the most from the YPG’s atroc­i­ties, al­though cer­tain coun­tries in­sist on equat­ing the ter­ror­ist group with Kur­dish peo­ple. Tur­key, how­ever, opened its doors to 512,708 Syr­ian refugees flee­ing YPG-held ar­eas, while an­other 300,000 Syr­ian refugees took shel­ter in Iraq.

Tur­key has es­tab­lished the big­gest tent city in the Su­ruç dis­trict of the south­east­ern prov­ince of Şan­lıurfa to host Syr­ian Kurds es­cap­ing from YPG-held ar­eas. Ed­u­ca­tional and health fa­cil­i­ties are pro­vided in the tent city to help refugees live in a se­cure and peace­ful place.

Not only Syr­ian Kurds but also Arabs and peo­ple of other eth­nic­i­ties liv­ing un­der the ter­ror­ist group’s rule have long been suf­fer­ing from the atroc­i­ties. Nu­mer­ous hu­man rights or­ga­ni­za­tions have doc­u­mented the YPG’s vi­o­la­tions of hu­man rights, in­clud­ing tor­ture and re­cruit­ing child sol­diers as well as de­lib­er­ate dis­rup­tions of ed­u­ca­tion and health ser­vices. The group con­fis­cated prop­er­ties of lo­cal peo­ple and de­stroyed homes in ar­eas near the Syr­ian-Turk­ish bor­der, such as in Ayn al-Arab and Tal Abyad.

Even chil­dren can­not es­cape the atroc­i­ties of the ter­ror­ist group and are forced to take up arms to fight, which is listed as a war crime by in­ter­na­tional law.

De­spite hav­ing signed a pledge of com­mit­ment with an in­ter­na­tional or­ga­ni­za­tion in June 2014 to de­mo­bi­lize all fighters younger than 18 years old, the YPG re­cruited and trained chil­dren as young as 12 in 2016. In 2018, a U.N. an­nual re­port on chil­dren in armed con­flict re­vealed 224 cases of child re­cruit­ment by the YPG be­tween Jan­uary and De­cem­ber in 2017, a five­fold in­crease com­pared to the pre­vi­ous years. Hu­man Rights Watch stresses that the ter­ror­ist group con­tin­ues to re­cruit chil­dren de­spite the ob­jec­tions from the fam­ily and chil­dren while prevent­ing the fam­ily from get­ting in touch with their child. The or­ga­ni­za­tion doc­u­mented 59 chil­dren sol­diers be­tween the ages of 10 and 15, adding that the YPG con­firmed in­te­grat­ing chil­dren into their ranks. Ac­cord­ing to the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s eye­wit­ness ac­counts, 13-year-old Maisa Muhyid­din was kid­napped by the ter­ror­ist group from her school de­spite protest from her rel­a­tives. An­other ex­am­ple is 16-year-old Sidra Muham­mad, who was forced to fight for the group. Al­though the group said that Sidra was used for “traf­fic po­lice,” she was shot dead by Said Uth­man in June 2015.

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