The Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES) accused Turkey of committing war crimes in the recent onslaught of attacks on the region, during an online press conference on Monday.
AANES’s foreign relations department co-chair, Bedran Jiya Kurd, refuted Turkey’s justifications for the attacks, that have affected over two million people. “The theories Turkey are advancing are not true. Turkey wants to legitimise its attacks. The primary aim of the attacks is to destroy our people’s existence,” he said.
Kurd elaborated that Turkey’s actions violate international agreements, including the Geneva Conventions and Additional Protocols, which prohibit the targeting of civilian infrastructure and civilians. “These attacks are war crimes. No other states raise their voice against this,” he added.
The attacks have had a devastating impact on the region’s infrastructure. “14 oil sites were targeted. Nine electrical stations can no longer give power, affecting other service facilities. 220 bakeries and hospitals have stopped functioning,” Kurd revealed. Education has also suffered, with 48 schools damaged in the bombings, particularly those near the border. ANHA reported as early as 7 October that two hospitals were also targeted.
Meanwhile, Qamishli (Qamişlo) Canton’s Electric Corporation Director Mihemmed Zeki Sileman İsa, reported that power stations were also targeted in al-Malikiyah (Dêrik), al-Hasakah (Hesekê), Qamishli and al-Qahtaniyah (Tirbespiyê). “The station in Amuda (Amûdê) was completely burned, and now Amuda is without electricity,” he said. Qamishli Canton’s Water Affairs Director Hurşid Oso added that Turkey aims to force the population to leave by targeting essential services.
When questioned about ongoing dialogue between Turkey and the AANES, Kurd responded, “There was no communication at all between Turkey and the AANES. The objective is to make life as unbearable as possible for the people.”
On the subject of education, Kurd stated, “Until stability and security are re-established and the attacks stop, there are no plans to ensure education continues.”
The AANES also expressed disappointment at the lack of a stronger international response. “No major changes have occurred in the reactions of America and the Coalition. They state their dissatisfaction but there is a lack of stronger condemnation of the Turkish government,” Kurd said.
Regarding the Syrian government’s stance, Kurd noted, “The [Syrian] regime says nothing. Both Turkey and the regime want the AANES and Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to become weaker. This worsens the situation.”
Kurd concluded by highlighting sacrifices made by the people of Rojava against ISIS. “Rojava struggled so much, but now the international community will not protect Rojava. Every day now our people are going to Coalition and Russia bases here to protest and demand practical steps be taken against Turkey,” he said.