Maat Condemns the Turkish Shelling of a Displaced Persons Camp in the Countryside of Aleppo in Northern Syria
Maat for Peace, Development, and Human Rights condemns the actions of the Turkish military forces and their allies stationed at Kaljabri base, in the western countryside of Aleppo, such as the lethal unlawful attacks on the areas inhabited by the displaced Syrians. Six mortar shells were reportedly fired into the vicinity of villages of Tel Qarah and Tel Sosin, in the northern countryside of Syria’s Aleppo, located in the areas under the Kurdish control, in addition to the Serdem Camp for the displaced, leading to Different
The Turkish artillery continues to kill dozens of civilians in Syria day after day. They have committed grave violations and war crimes, including the unlawful attacks that have claimed the lives of Syrian civilians who were forced to flee their homes and live amid constant fear of indiscriminate shelling and kidnappings. The tragedy of the internally displaced remains one of the biggest problems brought forth by the conflict in Syria; they have not just fled their homes but also face death every day, since the places they take refugee in are no better than their homes, as is the case in the countryside of Aleppo, which is subject to constant attacks.
Ayman Okeil, president of Maat, said that the continued targeting of civilians in Syria by Turkish forces violates Article 51 of the First Additional Protocol to the four Geneva Conventions and the second paragraph of Article 13 of the Second Additional Protocol, which stipulates: “The civilian population as such, as well as individual civilians, shall not be the object of attack” and “Acts or threats of violence the primary purpose of which is to spread terror among the civilian population are prohibited.”“Therefore, Maat is gravely concerned about Turkey’s continued targeting of civilians in Syria, which exacerbates the humanitarian situation. This month, Tukey carried out indiscriminate attacks and supported the armed militia in Afrin and other places with weapons, in violation of the international humanitarian law provisions that explicitly provide for the protection of the population from and during displacement as civilians.
In the same context, Nourhan Mustafa, director of the International Humanitarian Law Unit at Maat, affirmed that Turkey cannot evade responsibility by assigning the commission of war crimes to armed groups. The International Humanitarian Law Unit observed many violations carried out by Turkey in Afrin, Aleppo, and other areas, in violation of the principle of protecting civilians in armed conflicts, as International humanitarian law applies in situations of armed conflict, whether international or non-international. If the internally displaced persons are present in a state party to an armed conflict, they are considered civilians and are entitled to the protection accorded to civilians, provided they are not taking part in hostilities.. Consequently, Turkey violates Articles (4), (27), and (57) of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 regarding the protection of civilians in times of war.
The Director of the International Humanitarian Law Unit also called on Turkey to put an end to the violations, hold the perpetrators accountable and provide protection for civilians living under its control, as the indiscriminate bombing of civilian areas using inaccurate weapons such as mortars can never be justified. “Such unlawful attacks must be investigated and those responsible must be held accountable."