New civilian massacres in northwest Syria due to Syrian airstrikes and Turkey’s shelling

On 2 December 2019, a suspected Syrian airstrike on a market in a town in northwest Syria killed at least 13 civilians, while, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, Turkey’s artillery shelling that landed near a school in Tal Rifaat killed at least nine people, eight of whom were children, and injured at least ten others. Names and ages of eight of the deceased are: Mihemed Ali (11), Mistefa M. Mecid (10), Mihemed Haci Omer (7), Arif Cafer Mihemed (6), Imad Ehmed Kefo (9), Abdul Fetah Eliko (3), Semir Abdurehman Hiso (12), Mihemed Adulreham Hiso (15).

Tal Rifaat, a Kurdish-held town, is squeezed between the areas controlled by the Syrian and Turkish armies. After Turkey’s invasion of Afrin in early 2018, many displaced Kurds took shelter in this town. As if invasion and displacement were not enough, death follows the Kurds wherever they go.

Turkey’s proxies have been committing all kinds of atrocities against civilians. They have even video-recorded and shared many of these via social media. The international community has mostly “observed with concern” and issued occasional statements of “condemnation.”

Let us remind both Turkey and the international community of the fact that Turkey is carrying out the invasion in Syria as a member of the NATO, a member of the Council of Europe, and a candidate country for accession to the European Union, and with the weapons obtained mostly from various Western countries.

We understand the relative silence or ineffective stance of these institutions and countries in the face of such massacres -- and other crimes such as mass displacement and ethnic cleansing committed in the context of the ongoing invasion -- as complicity with these crimes.  We strongly condemn both these massacres and the silence on them.

Hişyar Özsoy
Vice Co-chair of the HDP for Foreign Affairs
MP for Diyarbakır
3 December 2019