North Syria, the UN denounces abuses by armed groups affiliated with Turkey
The human rights situation in the areas of northern Syria, under the control of Turkish forces and their affiliated armed groups, is severely compromised by acts of violence and widespread crime.This was denounced last September by Michelle Bachelet, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, reporting an “alarming number of serious violations”, which would have been committed in 2020 by armed groups: killings, kidnappings, illegal transfers of people, forced evictions without any apparent military necessity.
According to the United Nations Human Rights Office (Office of the High Commissioner – OHCHR), the victims included people considered allied with opposing parties or critical of the actions of armed groups affiliated with Turkey. Bachelet urged Ankara to “immediately launch an impartial, transparent and independent investigation” to identify those responsible for what, in some cases, may constitute crimes under international law, including war crimes.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights said he had verified the deaths of at least 116 civilians in 2020 due to IEDs and explosive remnants of war and the wounding of 463 other civilians and added that he had received “disturbing news. according to which some detainees and abductees were reportedly transferred to Turkey following their capture in Syria by affiliated armed groups “.
The denial by the Turkish Foreign Ministry, which defined these allegations as “groundless”, “We reject the unfounded accusations against Syrian opposition groups” and the “groundless allegations against our country concerning these groups”, he said. replied the Turkish minister.
The Turkish occupation and the presence of rebel groups affect the supply of food aid in north-western Syria, where millions of people reside, many of them displaced from other parts of the country, who risk starvation if the United Nations does not have to approve an extension of cross-border humanitarian operations next July.
The province of Idlib, the last rebel stronghold in the northwest, is home to about 3 million inhabitants, more than half of whom depend on food aid and face serious difficulties.Access to aid across the border with Turkey was reduced to just one crossing last year, following opposition from Russia and China, permanent members of the Security Council, to the renewal of other crossings. Next month the mandate of the operation will have to be renewed and there is a fear that Russia, an ally of Assad, will veto the decision to keep the crossing open.