From civilian executions to chemical weapons: Turkey is committing heinous war crimes in Syria

The Turkish invasion into North-east Syria has led to some of the most brutal war crimes and flagrant violation of basic human rights. Ever since the US announced the withdrawal of troops paving the way for Turkey to invade northern Syria, there were apprehensions of things taking an ugly turn and such fears have unfortunately come true. The Turkish forces along with its pro-Turkey Jihadi militias have been committing war crimes against the civilian population of the Kurds at an alarming rate.

There have been rather disturbing reports and videos constituting evidence about how the NATO force and the forces backed by it have been executing Kurdish civilians including female politician Hervin Khalaf, even as they tried to flee, following the Turkish incursion. Evidence of the use of white phosphorus and other chemical weapons is also mounting against the NATO country.

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A footage of the Turkish backed forces executing nine civilians on the M4 Highway, Syria’s main road has emerged. The Turkish backed forces have filmed themselves while carrying out the executions of civilians while yelling ‘God is great’. They have also clearly said that they will ‘behead’ the Kurds. 

The Turkish proxies, indistinguishable from Jihadi ISIS, are also believed to have filmed the aftermath of the death of a prominent female politician, Secretary-General of the Future Syria Party, Hervin Khalaf. A Turkish backed Jihadist troop has filmed himself where he can be seen standing at the head of the female politician’s dead body. She was stopped by Turkish backed forces, and while the driver was executed on the spot, the Kurdish human rights activist and pro-democracy politician, Hervin Khalaf was raped, tortured and stoned to death.

According to Amnesty International, a medical report shows a series of injuries inflicted on the female politician. The injuries include multiple gunshot wounds to the head, face and back, fractures in both the legs, face and skull, detachment of her skin from her skull and loss of hair due to being dragged by the hair. This details of the kind of atrocities that would have been committed upon her by the Turkish-backed Jihadist forces.

What is particularly disturbing is the alleged use of white phosphorus and other chemical weapons which have been used by the NATO force and the jihadist militias backed by it, as evidenced by reports and some of the most gut-wrenching videos. Kurdish-led SDF has released photos showing a young boy lying in a hospital covered in grisly burns.

The Kurds have accused Turkey of using weapons like napalm and white phosphorus, which are banned. Experts agree that the injuries sustained by children appear to be consistent with those caused by the use of chemical weapons.

The video of a young boy covered in burns screaming out of pain and trauma has come up on Twitter. It discloses the extent to which Turkey has gone in the guise of creating a ‘safe zone’ for Syrian refugees in Northeast Syria. The Turkish forces and its proxies are not sparing even young kids during their brutal onslaught.

The dire situation of the civilians in the region invaded by Syria is further aggravated by a huge displacement. Amnesty International has reported that 1,00,000 people have been displaced. It is believed if the hostilities continue, there could be displacement of 3,00,000 inhabitants of Northeast Syria, where the Turkish forces are carrying out brutal war crimes, killing civilians and using some of the most heinous, banned chemical weapons.

With Kurds getting displacement from their ancestral homeland, there is no clarity as to the condition they are in. As such, there are no visible arrangements for rendering assistance to them in terms of food, drinking water and medical supplies. 

“I wish you could stop the animals who burnt me from burning others, rather than just take my photo.” These are the words of Ali Sher, 21-year-old Syrian Kurdish fighter and victim of blatant use of chemical weapons by the Turkish-backed forces. It is clear that in the name of creating a ‘safe zone’ for Syrian refugees and eliminating the Kurds, which Turkey brands as terrorists, the Turkish forces and proxies have carried out some of the most atrocious acts against young children, by the alleged use of white phosphorus and other chemical weapons.

While Erdogan has dismissed allegations of use of chemical weapons as “slander”, it is clear that the graphic photos of young kids and videos of such kids crying in horror, trauma and pain cannot be mere “slander”. These are evidences of the sheer brutality unleashed by the NATO force and its allies, which must immediately lead to Turkey being kicked out of the NATO.

The UN’s Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons has said that it will investigate the use of Chemical weapons in Syria. It must be noted that the Conference of State Parties, which is one of the organs of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical weapons can recommend collective measures to the State parties in case of serious damage. The Turkish incursion certainly qualifies for such remedial measures in the form of collective measures.

The manner in which the Turkish forces have run havoc during the Operation Peace Spring, that is, the military incursion into North-east Syria is indistinguishable from the modus operandi of the ISIS. For the Kurdish fighters, fortunes have turned upside down with the drawdown of the US forces, followed immediately by the Turkish invasion and reports of the ISIS prisoners fleeing from the prison camps and even a video of ISIS fighters moving in Turkish tanks and taking away all ISIS prisoners and their families from Ayn ISSA camp and prison in North Syria. Turkish jets had reportedly targeted Kurdish prison guards after which the ISIS prisoners were taken away.

Turkish Army has also reportedly established its first observation post in Northern Raqqa. Turkish President, Erdogan’s pro-ISIS credentials are now amply clear and in such circumstances it is only natural that the observation post is designed to support the ISIS. With Turkey running havoc in Northeast Syria, it is going to be pretty difficult to combat the ISIS.

The Kurdish fighters who fought the ISIS alongside the US forces all this while are flummoxed by the sudden withdrawal of the US forces, after which the Kurdish fighters are left to fend for themselves. The Turkish invasion is dragging back Syria into the days of the ISIS “Caliphate”.

There is a massive humanitarian crisis ongoing in Syria, sparked by the Turkish President Erdogan’s sinister ‘Operation Peace’ which is aimed at ‘cleansing’ northern Syrian areas along the border with Turkey, of Kurdish people so that their independence movement does not spill across the Kurdish areas in Turkey. Turkey holds nearly 3 million Syrian refugees and Erdogan has defended the incursion as a move to resettle the refugees in northern Syria, in a plan that is meant to dilute the Kurdish population in their own lands.