Criticism of planned Turkish military intervention in Syria
Protection zone would lead to crimes against humanity (Press Release)
The Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) criticizes Turkey's plans to establish a protection zone in northern Syria, as this would almost inevitable lead to violations of international law. "Population transfers must not be carried out against the will of those affected. Thus, Turkey's initiative would have to be seen as a crime against humanity," stated Ulrich Delius, the STP's director. The STP criticized that euphemistic terms such as "protection zone" are supposed to whitewash the planned military intervention. "The plans are not aimed at protecting the civilian population, as would be required by international humanitarian law. On the contrary, this will lead to an even larger mass exodus of the local population. Ethnic tensions are inevitable," Delius emphasized. It would be a massive violation of international law to expel the Kurdish population of northern Syria to make room for Arab refugees from other parts of the country.
"A military intervention in a neighboring country without military legitimacy, as envisaged by Turkey, would have to be seen as a violation of international law for two reasons: firstly, as a violation of national borders and, secondly, as a crime against humanity according to Article 7 of the Statutes of the International Criminal Court," Delius criticized. Turkey does not recognize the International Criminal Court, but the definitions for crimes against humanity in its statutes are binding under international law.
To make matters worse, the plans for a forced population transfer are clearly aimed to change the demographic structure in northern Syria. This is not legitimized under international law. Initiatives like this would have to be seen as a serious crime against the civilian population, the human rights organization warned.
Header image: STP/2019