By Fazel Hawramy
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Rudaw.net) – The United Nations Human Rights Office said Tuesday, October 15, that Turkey could be held accountable for possible war crimes, including the execution of captives and a female Kurdish politician, attacks on medical facilities, and the bombing a convoy of civilians and journalists during its now week-long offensive in northeast Syria. The United States defense chief has also said Washington could hold Turkey to account for possible war crimes.
Turkey launched an extensive bombing campaign on October 7 followed by a land invasion a few days later, which has forced more than 275,000 people from their homes and killed at least 45 civilians, including a popular female Kurdish politician and several journalists.
“We have received reports and viewed two separate pieces of video footage showing what appear to be summary executions carried out by fighters belonging to the Ahrar al-Sharqiya armed group, which is affiliated with Turkey,” said Rupert Colville, spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. “On the same day, we received reports indicating that a well-known Kurdish female politician, Hevrin Khalaf, was also executed on the same highway, apparently also by Ahrar al-Sharqiya fighters.”
“Turkey could be deemed responsible as a State for violations committed by their affiliated armed groups, as long as Turkey exercises effective control over these groups, or the operations in the course of which those violations occurred,” the human rights body said.
Turkish-backed proxy forces are accused of serious human rights abuses during the invasion of the enclave of Afrin early last year in which thousands of civilians were displaced.