The Human Rights Organization for Afrin region issued a statement to the public opinion on Wednesday in Serdem camp in al-Shahba canton, regarding the construction of the separation wall between Afrin and al-Shahba canton.
The statement was attended by dozens of jurists and residents of Afrin living in Serdem camp. The statement was read by the activist Hihan Ali.
"Last year, the Turkish occupation occupied the canton of Afrin using all types of weapons, including internationally forbidden weapons against humans, stones and trees, under the pretext of the existence of a threat to its national security represented by the People and Women Protection Units (YPG, YPJ) that defended the territory of the canton in the face of the occupier courageously for 58 days. In light of an international silence and the Russian-Turkish agreement, Afrin was occupied on 18 March, 2018. After the entry of the Turkish occupier and the factions loyal to it, they have committed many acts which are considered as war crimes and crimes against humanity (forced displacement, demographic change, murder, torture, arbitrary detention, looting, stealing, confiscation of property, the transfer of schools and hospitals into military headquarters, destruction of infrastructure, etc.) The Turkish occupation did not observe the rules and regulations that govern the occupation under Article 42 of the Hague Regulations 1907 and the second common article of the four Geneva Conventions of 1949, which prevented to practice violations during the occupation process, and Resolution No. 2265 of the General Assembly of the United Nations in its fifth session had forbidden any interference, even if was for humanitarian reasons, unless it would have been by the Security Council, where the Turkish government invaded the Syrian territory (Afrin canton) without the consent of the Syrian government and without a UN resolution allowing it to do so.
This invasion constitutes a crime against peace and entails accountability under the provisions of Articles 39 and 51 of the Charter of the United Nations. The aforementioned Hague Regulations enshrine the protection of properties for the local populations, the prevention of mass exoduses or torture against them, making no changes to the ground or repealing domestic laws, as the occupation is a temporary situation, but the Turkish state has not only done so, but continued to commit more violations representing the recent construction of a concrete wall to separate the territory of Afrin from Syria, which was recently established in the vicinity of the villages of Meryamin, Jelbereh and Kimar of Afrin canton from the eastern and southern sides. This was confirmed by some informed sources that the Turkish forces carried out in the past few weeks the destruction and extensive demolition of houses and civilians' properties in the village of Jelbereh to complete the work of building a concrete wall from the villages of Meryamin in the north to Kimar in the south and the village of Jelbereh in the south-west to separate the city of Afrin from the northern regions of Aleppo.
The sources spoke about an urgent plan to build about 70 km of the wall in the area inside the Syrian territory, with observation towers that are in direct contact with the military points of the Turkish occupation forces in Idlib near Afrin, and this is irrefutable evidence of proving itself as an occupying power in this region by cutting off parts of the territory of a neighboring country, Afrin region which is a Syrian territory enjoys sovereignty under international law and the 1945 UN Charter, and the Syrian state still enjoys legitimacy and its sovereignty still exists over its territory. This action was confirmed in a statement to the spokesman of the Turkish Presidency Ibrahim Kalin, saying (it is unreasonable to hand over the areas liberated by Turkey to the Syrian regime), and this is a strong evidence of the intention of the Turkish state to annex the Syrian territories it had occupied to its territories, taking advantage of the international and regional silence and the Syrian State, including Afrin, and that it is the duty of the United Nations in accordance with Article I of Chapter I of the Charter of the United Nations to maintain international peace and security and to resolve international disputes by peaceful means and to promote respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms of people.
"As Human Rights Organization, we believe that the Turkish intervention in the Syrian territories is an occupation because it is not based on any official mandate that allows it to interfere in the territory of others. This is not new to the Turkish state because it has previously occupied the Syrian Iskenderun and part of the Cypriot territory. We therefore call upon the United Nations to end the Turkish occupation, force it to withdraw from the Syrian north, resolve conflicts by peaceful means, respect the will and aspirations of the Syrian people to self-determination and promote the prospects for a political solution to the Syrian crisis. We also call on the Syrian state to intervene quickly to protect its territory from the political ambitions of the Turkish state through its seat in the United Nations, and all the necessary duty to defend the safety of the Syrian territory from any side. We condemn and denounce the Turkish occupation of the Syrian territories, practicing the worst violations against the Syrian peoples and spreading the spirit of division and strife among its components, especially in the occupied Afrin.