A delegation of Kongra Star Coordination visited the headquarters of the Russian forces in Kobani, with the aim of delivering them a message to Russian President Vladimir Putin and the leadership of Russian forces in Syria.
However, the Russian forces refused to receive the delegation, and to receive their message.
The following is the text of the message:
President of the Russian Federation
and the Russian Forces based in North and East Syria
Concern:Assassination of women in the village Helince / Kobanê
by Turkish army forces on 23 June 2020
Dear Mr. President,
on 23 June 2020 we witnessed another war crime carried out by the Turkish army against our land and people: Ms. Amina Waysî was sitting in front of her house in the village Helince near Kobanê when she and her guests Ms. Zehra Berkel and Ms. Hebûn Mele Xelîl were all of a sudden targeted by missiles of a Turkish UAV. All three Kurdish women were killed in this attack on a civilian settlement area. As Russian Army Forces are based in this region the Russian authorities have a special duty to investigate and indict this incident as well as to prevent further attacks in the future.
Ms. Zehra Berkel and Ms. Hebûn Mele Xelîl were members of our women’s organisation Kongra Star. They worked in their community for women’s rights and democratic solution to the conflict in Syria. Together with the people of Kobanê they resisted against ISIS attacks in 2014 to defend humanity. Significantly just in the eve of the 5th anniversary of ISIS massacre in which 271 civilians - children, women and elderly people – were brutally slaughtered in Kobanê, another massacre has been carried out in Kobanê by the Turkish army.
On the occasion of this crime of war, we call upon the Russian government and its forces in Syria to fulfil their obligations as to ensure the unity and sovereignty of Syrian territory, to facilitate the return of refugees in a safe and voluntary manner, and to prevent “ethnic cleansing policies” as it has also been stated the in Memorandum of Understanding Between Turkey and the Russian Federation on 22 October 2019. Unfortunately, both sides have failed to act accordingly.
Many war crimes, e.g. the use of chemical weapons against civilians in Serekaniye and the bombing of health care teams by Turkish army forces were documented in October and November 2019. Since then Turkey has never stopped its invasion against civilian settlements and military aggressions against the peoples of North and East Syria. In the Turkish occupied areas of Northern Syria, like in Afrin, Giresipi (Til Ebiyat) and Serekaniye (Rasalain) ethnic genocide practices, executions, kidnapping and torture have been continuing day by day. Women are subjected to gender specific violence and similar crimes as they have been under the terror of ISIS. Therefore, it is no coincidence that after the assassinations of the Secretary-General of the Syria Future Party Hevrin Khelef and our member Ms. Aqide Usman in October 2019, now in Kobanê once again women community leaders have been targeted by the Turkish army.
During the last 10 months the regions of the Autonomous Administration in North and East Syria have been constantly under attack of the Turkish army and their affiliated jihadist groups called “National Syrian Army”. Due to continuing shelling and attacks on the civilian settlements especially in the regions of Sheba, Til Rifat, Minbic, Ain-Issa and Til Temir thousands have been expelled from their homes. Daily new civilian casualties are reported from these regions. Further civilians and members of internal security forces ISF were killed by Turkish army attacks in the districts of Girkelege, Tirbesipiye and Kobanê.
We request you to take immediate steps in order to prevent further war-crimes and violation of international law, as well as to protect human life, women’s and human rights, including the protection of all religious and ethnic communities.
In order to comply with the principles of international law and universal human rights we urge the President and the Government of the Russian Federation to
•close the airspace over North and East Syria
• investigate the details of the assassination of women on 23 June 2020 in the village Helince / Kobanê and to bring those responsible to justice
• insure the withdrawal of Turkish forces and affiliated military groups from Syrian state territory
• support the voluntary and safe return of displaced people and war refugees inside and outside Syria to their homelands.
•take urgent steps for a democratic solution of the conflict including the participation of women and representatives of all ethnic, religious and political groups in Syria.
We thank you for your concern.
On behalf of the Coordination of Kongra Star