Okeil: There is still an opportunity to achieve justice and hold those accountable for war crimes
Sherif Abdul-Hamid: Imposing international sanctions on the Turkish-backed armed factions is an initial step to protect human rights
Maat for Peace, Development and Human Rights believes that the cycle of deadly violence in north-eastern Syria continues two years after the code-named Operation Peace Spring which was conducted by the Turkish Armed Forces and the Syrian National Army, with the aim of achieving certain political goals regardless of the human rights considerations. During this operation, a wide range of horrific violations and abuses, which sometimes amounted to war crimes, have been committed. According to human rights estimates, more than 146 civilians were killed, including 7 women and 4 children, and about 300,000 civilians were displaced.
In this context, Ayman Okeil, an international human rights expert and president of Maat, said that the absence of law in a conflict-torn region has allowed the spread of impunity. In addition, Okeil expressed his current concerns about the personal safety of civilians in northeastern Syria, which, he believes, has become too difficult to guruntee amidst daily threats and ongoing human rights violations committed by Turkey-backed armed factions in the region. Local population are living in constant fear of forced arrests and extrajudicial executions, as well as confiscation of property and homes and the imposition of royalties, in addition to the continuation of forced displacement practices in light of the cleansing operations, and the ethnic and demographic engineering. During the past two years, these factions arrested about 7,433 people, of whom 1,098 died due to torture. Okeil concluded by saying that there is still an opportunity for the international community to achieve justice and hold those accountable for the war crimes.
For his part, Sherif Abdul-Hamid, director of the Research and Studies Unit at Maat, called on the Turkish government to assume its responsibility and protect the civilians in northern Syria in accordance with the four Geneva Conventions. He also called on the international community to strengthen international sanctions on Turkish-backed armed factions that commit violations and enjoy impunity, considering it a step forward in the protection of human rights in northern Syria.