HRW refutes Turkey's claims in Occupied territories

Human Rights Watch revealed difficult and inhumane living conditions in the occupied Girê Spi/Tal Abyad area in light of the forced deportation of thousands of Syrians from Turkey to the areas it calls “safe.”

HRW refutes Turkey's claims in Occupied territories
28 March 2024   13:02

 "Turkish authorities are deporting or otherwise pressuring thousands of Syrians to leave the country to Tel Abyad, a remote Turkish-occupied district of northern Syria where humanitarian conditions are dire, Human Rights Watch said today.

Turkey's ‘voluntary’ returns are often coerced returns to ‘safe zones’ that are pits of danger and despair,” said Adam Coogle, deputy Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “Turkey's pledge to create ‘safe zones’ rings hollow as Syrians find themselves forced to embark on perilous journeys to escape the inhumane conditions in Tel Abyad.”

According to statistics revealed by the organization, the Turkish authorities deported 57,519 Syrians and others between January and December 2023, including 16,652 through the Girê Spi/Tel Abyad crossing.

The report noted that “Turkey said that it aims to transform the areas of northern Syria under its control, including Tal Abyad, into “safe areas,” but in reality these areas are rife with human rights violations. The Turkish incursion into the 150-kilometre-long strip between the two Raqqa governorates and Hasaka displaced hundreds of thousands and forced them to flee their homes.”

A report published by Human Rights Watch on February 29 documented “serious human rights violations and possible war crimes committed primarily by Turkish-backed local armed groups in these lawless and unsafe areas.” Human Rights Watch also found that “members of the Turkish armed forces and intelligence services were involved into the violations.”

The report added, "As the occupying power in Tel Abyad, Turkey has an obligation to maintain law and order and public life and protect Syrians there from violence, whatever the source. Turkey is bound by both its international humanitarian law and international human rights law obligations to ensure that its own officials and those under its command do not commit violations of international law, to investigate alleged violations, and ensure that those responsible are appropriately punished."