Turkey’s potential invasion into northern Syria to leave catastrophic repercussions

ALEPPO, Syria (North Press) – A local human rights organization in the northern countryside of Aleppo said, on Wednesday, that the recent Turkish threats against the region will have catastrophic repercussions similar to what happened in Afrin in 2018.

The Human Rights Organization-Afrin (operating in the northern countryside of Aleppo) stated that Turkey is working under the name of achieving a “safe zone”, to continue the process of demographic change in the areas under its control.

The organization indicated that this would cause the displacement of more than 150.000 people of Afrin IDPs and original inhabitants of the town of Tel Rifaat

Following the Turkish “Olive Branch” operation in 2018, through which Turkey occupied Afrin region, the Afrin inhabitants fled their homes and resorted to Shahba region (Aleppo northern countryside) which includes about 40 villages and five camps and is controlled by Syrian government and Russian forces.

The organization pointed out that Turkey, since occupying Afrin, has been following the policy of Turkification  by changing the names of streets, squares, public facilities and hospitals, and raising the Turkish flag over schools and public facilities.

The organization considered that forcible displacement from one place to another considered as war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity in accordance with international humanitarian law under Articles (6, 7, and 8) of the Rome Statute.

On June 1, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan renewed his threats of launching a military operation on northern Syria, and specified his targets in the two Syrian cities of Manbij and Tel Rifaat, which include many Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).

In a speech made to MPs of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) on May 25, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the “Turkish military would continue to rid its neighbour of terrorists” referring to the YPG.

“We are taking a new step in establishing a 30km security zone along our southern border,” Erdogan said. “We will clean up Tel Rifaat and Manbij.”

On May 23, Erdogan announced taking steps to complete the so-called remained portions of the “safe zone” plan along Turkey’s southern border saying, “We will soon take new steps regarding the incomplete portions of the project we started on the 30 km deep safe zone we established along our southern border.”

The Turkish “safe zone” is an area of 30-35 km (19-22 miles) deep into Syrian territory that Turkey started establishing in 2019 to house Syrian refugees in an area along its border with Syria, as well as to keep it free from the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which it regards as terrorists.

Reporting by Faya Milad