Şahin Lale, the Co-chair of the Qamishli Lawyers Association in North and East Syria, shared his assessment with Hawar News Agency of Turkey’s Gare offensive in Iraqi Kurdistan. He called for the need for an independent investigation to address human rights concerns.
Lale stated that an independent committee should visit Mount Gare and the regions shelled by the Turkish forces in order to prepare a report on possible war crimes. “The international public is obliged to send an independent research committee and reveal any possible war crimes committed by the Turkish state”, he said.
The Turkish state launched a military operation dubbed ‘Operation Claw Eagle 2’ on 10 February in Garê Mountains within the borders of Iraq. Turkey’s Garê offensive was launched reportedly using 41 Turkish fighter jets alongside a ground campaign utilising 2,000 soldiers. In the aftermath of the operations which were announced to have ended on 14 February, the Peoples’ Defence Forces (HPG) issued a statement, claiming that they suspected the Turkish state of using “chemical weapons” in Siyanê camp, where the thirteen Turkish soldiers and personnel were held as ‘war prisoners’ by the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
“Although it has been over three days since the attacks, there was a smell of chemical gas in the area which makes it impossible to go in there”, stated the HPG on 16 February. Regarding the debates over the use of ‘chemical weapons’, Lale stated that the use of such weapons is prohibited internationally and considered as a war crime.
“As the people of law in the region, we call upon the United Nations (UN) to send a committee to investigate the allegations of the use of chemical weapons by the Turkish state in the Garê region. The Turkish state has violated international laws on numerous occasions. The UN should send a research committee for a transparent investigation and then issue a report for the international public”, he said.
“The Turkish state should be held responsible for its crimes and tried in an international criminal court for any possible war crimes”.
Referring to the statements of the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Turkey’s Minister of Defence Hulusi Akar, Lale said: “If the HPG forces wanted to kill the captive officials, they would not have taken them as prisoners anyway. The Turkish state wants to cover up its crimes”.