Former United States Special Representative for Syria James Jeffrey spoke about the war crimes committed by the armed groups affiliated with Turkey in northern Syria. Jeffrey stressed that the Turkish backed mercenaries committed war crimes during the military operations in Ras al-Ayn (Serêkaniyê) and Tell Abyad (Girê Spî) in October 2019.
Speaking on a broadcast on 29 December, Jeffrey said that some of these groups were investigated for war crimes and then punished.
“Obviously, the groups supported by Turkey have committed crimes, the Biden administration has investigated this and punished one of these groups,” Jeffrey said, noting that they provided Turkey with clear evidence of the crimes of these groups and that some of them are being investigated.
“In early October 2019, we presented clear evidence to the Turkish government about the actions of its allies, some of which were investigated. We are not happy with the results of some of the investigations. The U.S. administration punished one of these groups.” Jeffrey stated.
Ras al-Ayn and Tell Abyad were previously controlled by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). On 9 October 2019 Turkey and its armed groups entered the two cities and hundreds of civilians died as a result of the operation.
According to human rights organisations and legal institutions in North and East Syria at least 150,000 people have been forced to leave their homes and land due to operations. So far, numerous reports have been published by local and international human rights organisations on the crimes committed by these groups in the two cities.
The Human Rights Organisation of Jazeera have documented the killing of 429 civilians by Turkey’s paramilitary gangs. Fourteen of these were women, of whom three were ‘formally’ executed. In addition, 74 women have been injured having been targeted in various ways. But the organisation has been unable to document the incidences of rape of children and women.