Turkey targets civilians’ houses, workplaces in NE Syria

Introduction and Methodology:

Turkey directly targeted civilians with drones and heavy weapons while they were in their houses and workplaces or on the way to work in Northeast Syria.

Statistics and documentations of the Monitoring and Documentation Department of North Press Agency since the beginning of 2023 have shown that Turkish forces expanded their target area, endangering the lives of civilians in areas held by the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES). Turkish threats against civilians persisted even while performing daily activities in their houses and work.

Even though Turkey signed two ceasefire agreements with both the U.S. and Russia after carrying out a military operation dubbed Peace Spring in October 2019, it continued to carry out attacks using artillery shelling, drones, and warplanes.

In relation to the cases presented in this report, Turkey has not demonstrated its compliance with the International Humanitarian Law, human rights treaties and laws that protect civilians during times of conflict.

In addition to general statistics, this report provides four different cases in time and place, showing that Turkish forces targeted civilians’ houses, their workplaces and vehicles, and carried out indiscriminate shelling where shrapnel killed civilians in places they considered safe.

From August to December, the Department conducted physical interviews with 42 individuals, including survivors of the attacks, families of victims, human rights advocates, and activists. Additionally, families and workers in civilian facilities that were damaged also were interviewed.

Some testimonies and interviews were conducted before preparing this report. They revealed that Turkish attacks became more hostile against the region and the civilian population using artillery shells and drones.

The report includes four parts:

First: General statistics and spike in Turkey’s hostility through expanding its target area, even against humanitarian efforts.

Second: Turkey’s targeting of facilities and infrastructure resulted in long-term damages affecting the entire population of the region that already suffers from dire services and living conditions after 12 years of war and conflict in the country.

Third: Direct attacks against civilians caused casualties and gravely impacted vulnerable groups such as agricultural workers and low-income laborers, despite being present in their houses, workplaces, and traveling on main roads.

Fourth: Highlighting the legal framework of these violations according to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (IHL). 

Turkey targets civilians’ houses, workplaces in NE Syria

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