More than 120 Syrian organisations have released a statement calling on the UN Security Council to intervene in the conflict in northern Syria, noting that Turkey was responsible for most of the violence.
In a statement published on the Syrians for Truth and Justice platform, 121 civil society and non-governmental organisations said the United States, the EU and Russia must step in to prevent new military attacks and repudiate plans of demographic change in the region.
“Frequent military threats and hostilities across northern Syria continue to wreak havoc on the region, which is home to hundreds of thousands of internally displaced persons (IDPs) who fled other afflicted Syrian areas,” said the statement.
“Hostilities in the region have hiked since early August 2022. Cities, towns, and villages in northern Syria have witnessed dozens of attacks, with mortar shells, rockets, aircraft, and drones. Turkey has perpetrated the majority of these attacks,” it said.
The organisations said that in July alone, Turkey and Turkish-affiliated forces had killed and wounded 31 people in Tell Tamr, Ayn Issa, Kobane, and Tell Rifat.
Many more military attacks have been documented along the frontlines in northern Syria since early 2022, the organisations said.
“The attacks killed and injured dozens of civilians in the areas separating the territories held by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), Turkish military, armed opposition groups, Russian military, and the Syrian government forces,” the statement said.
Turkey signed separate ceasefire agreements with Russia and the United States to end its last major cross-border operation against the Kurdish-led SDF in 2019, but this year it has ramped up attacks in areas bordering the territory under its control.
The Syrian organisations added that Turkey had deported some 11,000 Syrian refugees since early 2022, despite UN warnings that Syria remains unsafe for returning refugees.
Members of the UN Security Council should establish a ceasefire across Syria, “ensure that no party shall violate the ceasefire, and prevent any prospective military offensives in northern Syria that are likely to undermine stability in the region,” the statement said.
It also called on the influential Security Council members to dissuade Turkey, Lebanon and other countries from forcibly returning refugees to the war-torn country.
Moreover, the organisations raised the alarm about “plans of demographic change” in a likely reference to Turkey’s ambitions to resettle large numbers of refugees in mainly Kurdish areas of Northern Syria.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has made multiple threats this year to order new military offensives in Syria. Erdoğan has discussed plan to expand the 30-km deep areas which Ankara labels as “safe zones” – occupied areas that Turkish forces carved out during previous operations.
On 23 May, the Turkish president signalled his desire to start another major military cross-border incursion into northern Syria, this time targeting the border town of Manbij and Tell Rifat, a town in the north of Aleppo governorate.