Syria: United Nations should protect Kurdish region
Protected zone could save Kurds in northern Syria a lot of suffering (Press release)
According to the Society for Threatened Peoples (STP), the establishment of a protected zone could save the Kurds in northern Syria a great deal of suffering. The human rights organization welcomed a proposal by Roderich Kiesewetter, foreign policy expert of the CDU, to establish a "protected zone" under the auspices of the United Nations (UN). "For the Kurds, but also for the Assyrians/Aramaeans/Chaldeans, the Armenians, Christians, Yazidis, Alevis, and other communities living there, this could be a ray of hope – a means to ensure that they will not to be ruled and persecuted by a tyrant again when the US have left the region. The international community should finally show more effort to protect these ethnic groups, which have been oppressed for decades," stated Kamal Sido, the STP's Syria expert, in Göttingen on Friday.
In the summer of 2016, following a reconnaissance trip, the STP had already proposed specific steps for a protection zone in northern Syria. "If Germany and the EU had taken the initiative back then, it might not have come to Turkey's war of aggression – which is to be seen as a violation of international law – and to the subsequent occupation of the Syrian-Kurdish region of Afrin in northwestern Syria," said Sido, who still has family members in Afrin. Every day, he receives terrible reports of murders, kidnappings, abuses by women, raids, and arson. The Turkish military is allowing Islamist militias in Afrin to de facto introduce sharia laws and to harass the civilian population with extremely strict rules of conduct.
Since the beginning of the Syria crisis in 2011, the STP had repeatedly demanded initiatives to establish a federal and secular state in Syria, in order ensure that all ethnic groups and religious communities can coexist without discrimination. "It's not too late yet. Germany and France, which, in April and March 2019, will be chairing the UN Security Council in for one month each, should now take the initiative at UN level to ensure that the warring parties – in particular the Turkish ruler Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, and Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin – will accept a new policy of democratization and federalization in Syria.
Header image: Kamal Sido/GfbV