The Turkish state and Turkish affiliated armed groups have reportedly increased their attacks against regions in North East Syria. Attacks have targeted especially Ain Issa, Til Temir and Tall Rifat. Lawyers have expressed their concerns that these attacks are war crimes under international law.
The Turkish state and Turkish affiliated armed groups reportedly staged an assault on Tall Rifat on 23 January. Four civilians were killed and nine civilians, including refugees from Afrin (Efrîn), were injured. Lawyers from Manbij commented on the recent attacks.
According to ANHA, Manbij Lawyers Union member Ehmed Hac Mehmûd stated that the attacks against Tall Rifat represent a continuation of initiatives aimed at displacing people living from the area. He added: “The invading Turkish state and its mercenaries are war criminals and an international court should be constituted to judge them. The Turkish state and its mercenaries have carried out many violations against the people of North East Syria. People of the region still suffer from these violations”.
Mehmûd appealed to lawyers and legal actors in the area to create humanitarian and judicial organisations within the Autonomous Administration to unite and take the crimes of Turkey to international courts to be judged.
Assaults taking place are part of a plan
Another lawyer, Umer Berkel, said: “The Tall Rifat massacre is an inhuman massacre. Shelling civilians living in North East Syria is a planned policy to displace peoples of the region. The invading Turkish state also carried out several massacres previously”. Berkel appealed to international organisations to act to halt the Turkish state’s violations and hostilities against the region and its policy of altering the demographic structure of the region.
‘Turkish state is responsible for terror’
Another Manbij Lawyers Union member Mehmûd Nebi stated that the Tall Rifat massacre is a crime against humanity, according to international law: “Targeting civilians is war crime under international law. The Turkish state is the main responsible party for the terror in the region”.