As Turkey escalates its military attacks on the Kurds, ahead of a possible full-scale invasion of North and East Syria — the region known as Rojava — the Kurdistan National Congress (KNK) issued an urgent call for a no-fly zone.
* * *
The Executive Council of the Kurdistan National Congress (KNK) issued the following urgent appeal to the United Nations, Global Coalition Against ISIS, European Union, Council of Europe and the League of Arab States:
“Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has long pledged to unilaterally establish a so-called ‘security zone’ within North and East Syria/Rojava, and his actions have made it clear that his true aim is to invade, conquer, and ethnically cleanse these areas.
“Erdoğan announced his invasion plans at the 74th Session of the UN General Assembly, on September 24, 2019. Those who know the autocrat and have observed his various campaigns of military aggression are aware that Erdoğan’s security zone, which he mapped out for the world to see, would be a wasteland of mass graves for the Kurds and other peoples of the region.
“Since 2019, the international community has remained quiet on Erdoğan’s crimes against humanity and war crimes, and the lack of interest from the UN, Global Coalition Against ISIS, NATO, the EU, and the Council of Europe have strengthened him immensely. Even when Erdoğan’s armed forces killed 9 civilians and injured 30 more at the Perekh tourist complex near Zakho in southern Kurdistan (northern Iraq) on July 21, the guardians of international law were silent.
“With the implicit approval of the international community, Erdoğan presses ahead with implementing his strategy of ethnic cleansing, as he is doing today. This morning, the Turkish army has been bombarding Kobanê in northeastern Syria from the air and on the ground, and these attacks follow a number of killings of civilians by Turkish military drones in recent weeks.
“The goal of Erdoğan and the Turkish state is clear: ethnic cleansing of the Kurds. Additionally, these attacks have also targeted the Syriac Christians of the region.”
The following areas attacked in North and East Syria/Rojava are all included in the so-called “security zone” on the map that Erdoğan infamously displayed at the UN General Assembly in 2019:
Kobanê: Kobanê’s city centre; the villages of Boban, Siftek, Selim and Asme, the western villages of Kobanê on the Turkey-Syria border, and the Upper Sheikhler village on the Euphrates River, opposite the Turkish-occupied city of Jarablus, are all being shelled. A child named Abid Mohammed Haji, 12, was killed in these attacks.
Manbij: The villages of al-Jat and Masi north of Manbij are being attacked with mortars from a Turkish-occupied base in al-Tokhar al-Kabir.
Afrin (Efrin), Sherawa district: The Bênê, Sonxanekê and Qinêtirê villages have been attacked by howitzers more than 30 times.
Girê Spî (Tel Abyad) region: The Arida, Leqleqo, Sewan, Khirbet Beqer and Kopirlek villages were bombed and attacked with heavy weapons by the Turkish military in cooperation with ISIS.
Hasakah Canton: The Zirgan district has been attacked, and a child named Tamim Faisal Hamad, 11, was injured.
Tel Temir: The villages of Gozeliyê, Tel Leben, Umm Khair, Til Tewîla Asûran and Selmase were attacked.
Tirbe Sipiyê: Areas near the Syriac Sutoro Forces Academy in the village of Rotan were attacked.
[Abridged from ANF English.]