Three French senators denounced the Turkish occupation of parts of the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES) and said Turkey is turning the water crisis into a water war during a press conference on Wednesday.
Senators Laurence Cohen, Marie Pochon and Pierre Laurent had just returned from a trip to the AANES, known to Kurds as Rojava. Laurence Cohen, Senator for the French Communist Party, said, “Turkey does not respect the international treaties at all, and is intentionally reducing the water level of the Euphrates. This is leading to the resurgence of cholera and other diseases.” Senator Marie Pochon added that “this practice, to reduce the water flow on the Euphrates did not exist when ISIS was occupying Raqqa”.
During their trip, the Senators visited the Washokani camp near Hasakah. Senator Pierre Laurent said that the 15,000 displaced people in the Washokani camp are living there without any support from the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR). Senator Marie Pochon was shocked to see these displaced populations still living in tents after Turkey invaded the north of Syria. She said that Turkey is illegally occupying Afrin (Efrîn), an area that was once 95 percent Kurdish. “Today, only 25 percent of the people living there are Kurdish. And the entire region is living under a regime of terror organised by Turkey, with drone attacks and the permanent threat of a ground invasion.”
In a document, the Senators listed the recommendations the French delegation will pass on to the French authorities. They ask France to support the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) directly in the fight against ISIS and for the reconstruction of the country. “And France needs to condemn the drone attacks of Turkey in North and East Syria much more firmly”, Laurent said.
The Senators criticized the quadrilateral meeting between the deputy foreign ministers of Turkey, Syria, Russia and Iran held in Moscow, which excluded the Syrian Democratic Forces. Laurent asked the international community to include the authorities of North and East Syria in all discussions about the future of the region. “It’s crucial for the democratic future for all of Syria,” he said, adding, “Nobody is inviting the politically responsible bodies who manage the region today to sit around a table. They are, however, the only democratic chance to build a democratic future on the territory.”
The Senators unanimously highlighted the achievements in North and East Syria: gender equality, communities living together among each other and respect for all religions. They promised to transfer their recommendations into concrete actions.