Syria: ‘They are using chemical weapons’ — appeal against Turkey’s intervention


Protest against Turkish invasion and massacre of civilians. Girkê Legê, Rojava, August 28.

The statement below was released on September 1 and signed by a range of politicians, academics and activists from around the world. To sign, please send your name, organisation and country to mc@kurdishinstitute.be.

* * *

We, intellectuals, writers, artists, politicians and human rights defenders, seek to draw urgent attention to the Turkish state’s invasion in northern Syria and Rojava.

The Turkish army invaded the Northern Syrian City of Jarablus on August 24, using anti-ISIS operations as a pretext. The operation was in collaboration with the Syrian arm of Al-Qaida (Jabhat Fatah al-Sham) and groups like Ahrar El-Sham.

ISIS handed over the city, Jarablus, without a single bullet being fired. This is a clear indication that there was a prior agreement between the parties that Jarablus would remain as a base for Salafi groups. Therefore, Jarablus will remain as a corridor for foreign fighters to cross into Syria to receive training and then to cross back over in order to be distributed throughout Europe and the rest of the world.

From the third day of the operation (August 26) onwards, the attacks have been directed at Kurdish forces, the Jarablus Military Council and the Minbij Military Council. Northern Syria has been largely cleansed of ISIS by these forces with the support of the international coalition led by the US.

By attacking these forces, Turkey is both interrupting the fight against ISIS and strengthening ISIS. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and other Turkish authorities officially announced the purpose of the operation, at the outset, as the targeting of Kurdish forces alongside ISIS.

The Turkish army has engaged in airstrikes and shelling of civilian areas, killing at least 45 in two villages south of Jarablus. According to local reports and footage received, Turkish state forces and their partners are using chemical weapons.

The reality of the situation is that the US and European Union have not only turned a blind eye to these attacks, but some states have even declared support for the Turkish state operation. This approach represents improper and dishonest politics and must be abandoned immediately.

Turkish state attacks are furthering the existing chaos in the region, deepening the civil war, creating new refugees and making way for new human tragedies. This must end.

The Kurdish people and other ethnicities have established a democratic administration in Rojava, with peaceful coexistence with the other ethnicities (Assyrians, Syrians, Armenians, Arabs, Turkmens, Chechens) and beliefs (Muslims, Christians, Yezidis, Alevis) at its heart. This administration is the first core example of the democratic Syria these people and democratic forces want to construct and should be supported.

It is the moral duty of all democratic people and advocates of human rights to stand against these attacks. Our call is:

• All people on the side of democracy and human values must raise their voices against the Turkish states dirty games and invasion;
• International powers, especially the US and EU must withdraw their support and stand against the Turkish state’s attempts; and
• For a stable world and the defeat of ISIS, we must act against the foreign intervention by the Turkish state.

Signed by:

• Bernd Riexinger, Parteivorsitzender DIE LINKE (Germany)
• Katja Kipping, MdB, Parteivorsitzende DIE LINKE (Germany)
• Tobias Pflüger, stellv. Parteivorsitzender DIE LINKE (Germany)
• Tilman Zülch, Präsident der Gesellschaft für bedrohte Völker (Germany)
• Gisela Penteker
• Francis Wurtz, Député européen honoraire
• Nathan McDonnell
• Judge Essa Moosa (Head of Delegation), International Peace and Reconciliation Initiative (South Africa)
• Prof. Kariane Westrheim chairperson EU Turkey Civic Commission, Professor at the University of Bergen. Former Rafto Board Member (Norway)
• Rev, Fr. Joe Ryan, Chair of the Westminster Justice and Peace Commission (UK)
• Thomas Jeff Miley Lecturer of Political Sociology, Cambridge University (USA)
• Federico Venturini School of Geography, University of Leeds (Italy)
• Radha D’ Souza, University of Westminster, School of Law (India)
• Additional members of the Imrali Peace Delegation
• Janet Biehl author, editor (USA)
• Francesco Andrade Velasco, former Minister of Culture (Ecuador)
• Andrej Hunko, MP of Left Party (Germany)
• Dimitri Roussopoulos, co-founder of Transnational Institute for Social Ecology (Canada)
• Eirik Eiglad, writer and publisher (Norway)
• Lucena Gonzalez Edgar de Jesus, deputy of the National Assembly (Venezuela)
• Councillor Sue Bolton, Socialist Alliance member of Moreland City Council (Australia)
• Councillor Sam Wainwright, Socialist Alliance member of Fremantle City Council (Australia)
• Federico Fuentes, editor, LINKS International Journal of Socialist Renewal (Australia)
• Kathy Fairfax, editor, Green Left Weekly (Australia)
• Stuart Munckton, editor, Green Left Weekly (Australia)
• Tony Iltis, journalist, Green Left Weekly (Australia)

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