SDC demands global fact-finding committees be sent to Syria’s Afrin

QAMISHLI, Syria (North Press) – Representative of the Syrian Democratic Council (SDC) in Washington, Sinem Muhammad, said it is necessary that international fact-finding organizations are sent to Afrin, northwest Syria, to reveal crimes committed by the Turkish-backed Syrian National Army (SNA).  

This came in an interview on North Press’ Washington Online, where Muhammad made her remarks when asked about the crime of killing four civilian Kurds by the SNA for celebrating Newroz in the town of Jindires west of Afrin.

She called for establishing an international fact-finding committee to be sent to Afrin to unveil racist crimes committed against the Kurds.

On March 20, militants of Jaysh al-Sharqiya, a faction affiliated with the Turkish-backed SNA, killed four Kurds and wounded others in Jindires for celebrating Newroz.

The incident was followed by local and international angry reactions, calling for holding perpetrators accountable for the incident and removing the injustice in areas under the SNA factions’ control and demilitarize the region.

Muhammad said this crime happened while the people in Afrin have not healed from impacts of the Feb. 6 earthquakes.

At dawn on Feb. 6, a 7.8-magnitude earthquake hit northwestern Syria and southern Turkey, killing more than 50,000 individuals and injuring much more. The earthquake also caused immense destruction of buildings, trapping thousands under the rubble.

Jindires is the most affected area in Syria by the earthquake, as 513 individuals were killed and 831 others were injured, in addition to the destruction of 200 buildings and the partial damages to over 500 others.

The SDC representative stressed the Kurdish people used to witness tragedies every march “Each March, a crime or a tragedy happens.”

She noted that human rights violations committed in Afrin are faced with international silence “It is time for holding a session by the UN to discuss events happening in Afrin such as robbing, demographic change, and stealing archeological sites that all are considered war crimes.”

“Those people who had rebelled against the Syrian regime are now committing more hideous racist crimes against the Kurdish people…and it is natural for them [Kurds] to protest and break the fear barrier, demanding justice, equality, holding criminals accountable, and expulsion of the factions.”

She stressed that the Turkish-backed factions have not contributed to stabilize the region, but they hit safety and peace among people of the region.

Anger protest in Afrin “will continue until a solution for what is happening is found,” she added.

In response to a question about the Newroz celebration in the White House, the SDC representative stressed the White House extended an official invitation to the SDC to participate in the celebration.

She said that celebrating Newroz in the White House for the first time in its history bears “key connotations.”

She noted that the program of the festival mostly included shows of Persian music and culture, adding “We wished the celebration was more inclusive including Kurdish aspects.”

She expressed her pleasure to join celebration in the White House and to meet US officials with the attendance of the US President Joe Biden and his wife.

The US president and his wife delivered two different speeches, congratulating those people celebrating the Newroz and praised women’s fight against injustice, demanding their freedom in Iran.

Kurds celebrate Newroz from all across the world on March 21 of every year. They light fire and hold festivities, among other things, as part of their celebration of this symbolic day.

Muhammad, during her meeting with the US president on the sideline of the celebrations, thanked the US for the support provided “to our forces in northeast Syria and the people of the entire region in their fight against terrorism to maintain security.” 

Speaking of the US House of Representatives’ legislation to withdraw troops from northeast Syria, Muhammad stressed the importance of the US presence in the region.

On March 8, Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla. proposed a resolution to withdraw the US troops from northeast Syria within 180 days for voting; however the legislation failed in a 103-321 vote.

She added, “They [US troops] do not directly involve in the war…the Syrian Democratic Forces are working on the ground.”

She noted, “We explained to the Congress about the dangers areas of northeast Syria face, especially with 12,000 ISIS militants held in prisons, in addition to having more than 50,000 family members of extremists and terrorists in Hawl Camp.”  

She also highlighted the issue of the Islamic State (ISIS) attempts to revive the group through attacking prisons.

On Dec. 26, 2022, a group of ISIS militants attacked a security center of the Internal Security Forces of North and East Syria (Asayish) in Raqqa, killing four Asayish fighters and one of the SDF.

On Jan. 20, 2022, ISIS sleeper cells attacked al-Sina’a prison that used to hold thousands of ISIS inmates captured by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) during the battles against the hardline ISIS organization.

The SDC is the political wing of the SDF and the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES). It was founded in 2015 and includes all the communities of North and East Syria.

Reporting by Saya Muhammad