Safe zone not safe for civilians. We knew this, but let’s take a look.
Not only local outfits such as Kurdistan24 are covering the story, but also larger organizations like The Guardian.
The Guardian: Turkey’s ‘safe zone’ in northern Syria unsafe for civilians, says report
Human Rights Watch says fighters could be guilty of war crimes against local population
Turkey’s newly established “safe zone” in northern Syria is far from safe, according to a report by a human rights watchdog, citing ongoing fighting and abuses such as executions and home confiscations.
Here’s a link to the Human Rights Watch report.
Syria: Civilians Abused in ‘Safe Zones’
Summary Executions, Blocked Returns by Turkish-Backed Armed Groups
(Beirut, November 27, 2019) – Factions of the Syrian National Army (SNA), a Syrian non-state armed group backed by Turkey in northeast Syria, have summarily executed civilians and failed to account for aid workers who disappeared while working in the ‘safe zone,’ Human Rights Watch said today. The armed group has also apparently refused to allow the return of Kurdish families displaced by Turkish military operations and looted and unlawfully appropriated or occupied their property
. . .
“Executing individuals, pillaging property, and blocking displaced people from returning to their homes is damning evidence of why Turkey’s proposed ‘safe zones’ will not be safe,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “Contrary to Turkey’s narrative that their operation will establish a safe zone, the groups they are using to administer the territory are themselves committing abuses against civilians and discriminating on ethnic grounds.”
On October 9, 2019, Turkish Armed Forces and the armed group invaded territory in northeast Syria that since 2012 had been under the control of the Syrian Democratic Forces, made up primarily of the Kurdish-led People’s Protection Units (YPG). Since the incursion began, Turkey and the factions it supports have indiscriminately shelled civilian areas, carried out at least seven summary killings, unlawfully occupied private civilian homes and shops and looted the owners’ property, and have not accounted for aid workers who may have been forcibly disappeared while working in their zones.
There’s a lot more detail in there for the interested, but you get the basic gist.
Russia, who has assumed the responsibility of maintaining the peace and safety of the region, has suggested that the the people of Rojava should just cooperate.
(Recall Russia’s objective here is for the SDF to dissolve into the Syrian Arab Army and help Assad re-consolidate the territory of Syria.)
And, for their part, Turkey is assuring the world that they are benevolent liberators with this video of soldiers stalking around, some kids playing soccer, a soldier helping someone break sticks, and a dog. A lot of soldiers stalking around, actually. Like, a creepy amount—almost like that’s the real emphasis here.
That has to be the worst video of kids playing that I’ve ever seen. They even had to bring a dog, which is a cheap trick. Ultimately, this video shows us that kids will play with balls and dogs, and how the soldiers patrol.
I already knew that kids played with balls and dogs. Seeing the soldiers was new, but not very appealing.
The whole video reminds me of this:
But if you’ve read the HRW report linked above or even just been following the story, you probably understand how tiresome this is.
And how horrible.
It’s not a negotiation and there isn’t an argument to be had: The safe zone is not safe.
Why it takes so long for people to understand this in the smart phone age utterly eludes me.