Friday, September 18, 2020

UN urges Turkey to investigate possible war crimes in north Syria

UN urges Turkey to investigate possible war crimes in north Syria

The United Nations has urged Turkey to investigate possible war crimes and other rights violations it says were carried out by armed groups in the area of northern Syria it controls.
Michelle Bachelet, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said violence and criminality was rife in those areas of Syria.

In a statement on Friday, Bachelet's UN Human Rights Office (OHCHR) said it had noted an "alarming pattern in recent months of grave violations", having documented increased killings, kidnappings, unlawful transfers of people, and seizures of land and properties and forcible evictions without any apparent military necessity.

The victims include people perceived to be allied with opposing parties or as being critical of the actions of the Turkish-affiliated armed groups, Bachelet's office said.

Increased infighting among the various Turkish-affiliated armed groups over power-sharing was causing civilian casualties and damage to civilian infrastructure, OHCHR said.

Bachelet urged Turkey to "immediately launch an impartial, transparent and independent investigation into the incidents we have verified, account for the fate of those detained and abducted by the affiliated armed groups and hold accountable those responsible for what may, in some instances, amount to crimes under international law, including war crimes".

Bachelet's office said from the start of the year until last Monday it had verified the deaths of at least 116 civilians as a result of improvised explosive devices and explosive remnants of war, while a further 463 civilians were injured.

She said an investigation was "all the more vital given that we have received disturbing reports that some detainees and abductees have allegedly been transferred to Turkey following their detention in Syria by affiliated armed groups"

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