The chair of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) drew attention to the negative situation in areas of northeast Syria under the control of the Turkish invasion, and emphasised that the US administration should force Turkey to withdraw from these areas in order to create positive conditions for religious freedoms.
Speaking to North Press Agency during her unofficial visit to the region controlled by the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES), Nadine Maenza said on Sunday that it was frustrating to see that while the world united against the atrocities of the Islamic State (ISIS), it has looked away when similar atrocities are being committed by a NATO member, Turkey.
Asked about the goals of her visit, Maenza praised the positive conditions in AANES regarding religious freedoms and the need for international support to protect these conditions, pointing at the constant Turkish attacks targeting AANES.
“My goals here really are to draw attention to the remarkable religious freedom conditions here so that the people can understand how special this project is and needs international support. Also I need to draw attention to the atrocities Turkey is committing by drone strikes. The day I arrived, a drone strike targeted civilians, killing one, injuring 11, including a four-year old boy who lost his leg,” she said.
“When we are looking at religious freedom, The US should really push Turkey to withdraw. That is the only way for positive religious freedom conditions in those areas they invaded.”
She strongly criticised the Western bloc of states for their double standards concerning atrocities committed by ISIS and Turkish forces.
“It’s so clear that these atrocities happening in those areas Turkey has invaded have been documented by all these organisations, yet the international community is ignoring it. No longer can the international community pretend that they are not happening. And it’s frustrating that when the ISIS caliphate was committing these atrocities, the world united against them. But when a NATO member is doing it, the world looks away.”
Asked what she thought the Biden administration’s plan for northeast Syria was, she replied saying that the dialogue between the administration and USCIRF was positive and that she was optimistic regarding the future of US support for AANES.
“They are interested in looking at different ways to support the region. I think there is an acceptance that the economic situation here is a real problem, with the sanctions, with the weaponisation of water by Turkey, and the different pressures that are on the autonomous administration,” she said.
“So I’m hopeful that they will take actions that will help strengthen the autonomous administration so the people here can really build a future.”