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 Human Rights Association IHD delegation to Syrian Kurdistan

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Human Rights Association IHD delegation to Syrian Kurdistan  6.10.2013 


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October 6, 2013

DIYARBAKIR, Turkey's Kurdish region,— Turkey's embargo on Syrian Kurdistan region (Northern Syrian) still continues as fierce clashes between Kurds and al-Qaeda linked armed groups are going on in West Kurdistan (Rojava).

Human Rights Association (IHD) headquarters will send a delegation to West Kurdistan border to examine the situation at the border and the situation of the people due to the ongoing embargo. The delegation will prepare a report and release it to public after the examinations.

The delegation is made up of International Federation for Human Rights President Yusuf Alataş, IHD President Öztürk Tandoğan, Vice President lawyer Serdar Çelebi, central executive board member Sevim Salihoğlu, regional representative Şevket Akdemir and Diyarbakır Branch Chair Raci Bilici.

The delegation will make its first examinations at the border gate between Mardin's Nusaybin district and the Qamişlo (Qamishli) city in West Kurdistan. Following three days of observation, the delegation will have a meeting with Erdal Ata, governor of Antep in charge of borders.


The delegation will carry out an inspection about the difficulties faced during the transportation of aid materials to Syrian Kurdistan, the reason behind the ongoing closure of border gates, Turkey's relation with and support to the al-Qaeda linked gang groups fighting against Kurds in West Kurdistan.

Giving information about the works of the delegation, IHD Diyarbakir Branch Chair Raci bilici said they aimed to make an objective examination about the situation in West Kurdistan and the troubles caused by the closure of border gates, and to bring their report to the public attention. Bilici said they would share the report with relevant bodies of the government as well.

YPG responses to the report of Independent International Commission

General Command of the Kurdish Peoples’ Protection Units (YPG) in Syrian Kurdistan has released a statement addressing to the Independent International Commission of Inquiry into Syrian affairs and the Human Rights Council, at the United Nations.

YPG said that the statement was aimed at drawing attention to some notes to help shed more light on some facts from YPG's point of view in response to the report of the International Independent Investigation Commission into the Syrian Arab Republic distributed on 16 August 2013, and its contents of allegations and accusations against the YPG.

The statement- signed by Redur Xelil, Spokesperson of YPG, said YPG affirmed that what is contained in the Commission's report about the acts and performance of YPG lacked accuracy as far as its data, information and results.

Referring to the issue of recruitment of children under the legal age within the ranks of YPG, YPG said clearly that it is unacceptable for anyone under the legal age to join in the ranks of the YPG and it is prohibited by the principles upon which these units have been built, and also against the rules of its Constitution and the foundations which are the basis upon which volunteers join up. YPG said this meant that recruitment of children under the legal age is rejected completely and in principle; the rules and regulations in force in this area prohibit any such action, and there are clear peremptory decisions taken at official meetings of these units and its conferences preventing such practices, and to confirm the penalties for any offenders.

"All this did not prevent the emergence of such things and a few who are under the legal age did join on a voluntary basis under the pressure of circumstances, and through the neglect of some, although they were not allowed to participate in military operations or to stay near active battle", YPG said and emphasized that whatever breaches have occurred in this area was no more than actions of individuals. It was not from the system, or the organization, and was not in any way predetermined, because this conflicts with the internal rules and regulations that relate to the mechanisms for accepting volunteers among the units, or with the general principles on which they have been established.

YPG added to this their full commitment to the International Bill of Human Rights and Geneva Conventions for the treatment of prisoners and civilians, and international covenants and instruments and related protocols, which have been adopted in letter and spirit by the General Command of YPG. "Accordingly, we have insisted for a while that this matter be regulated to prevent it from happening, and to care for this critical segment, to keep them away from the war and secure the greatest possible chance for a long and healthy life", YPG said.

In response to the report speaking about the use of unbalanced force in Amude against some protesters that led to the deaths of a number of people, including children, YPG outlined the details of the circumstances of the incidents and the details to make sure that the Commission is fully aware of what happened.

"We agreed and announced our readiness as YPG to facilitate the task of the Investigation Committee about Amude, which was approved by the Kurdish Supreme Committee. We have videos, photos and documents confirming that what happened was a planned conspiracy in which armed individuals with medium-sized weapons participated in the demonstration, and did not hesitate to direct their weapons at YPG cars returning from combat missions in the outskirts of Hasakah", YPG underlined.


Remarking that Sabri Gulo from YPG was killed by the attackers after being shot and another two fighters were injured in the same incident, YPG said their investigations following the event confirmed beyond any reasonable doubt that the event was premeditated, and declared readiness to provide all the evidence and proof in their possession for the Committee.

YPG confirmed that the convoy of YPG cars suddenly came under fire which pushed the fighters to use unregulated, uncontrolled and excessive responses. As a result, an investigation was then opened into the incident including the use of weapons without permission or order, which held accountable those who were negligent and those who were abusive according to the rules of their procedure regulations.

Also responding to the accusations against YPG fighters that they arrested a woman at a demonstration in March; that they arrested activists and hit protesters; and that detainees were subjected to inhuman treatment, beatings and the like; and rumors about the existence of ready-made prisons near Afrin, YPG said in this context, they could only make their position clear in relation to these issues. "In the general organization of the areas where we were, our mission is specifically to protect the region against attacking forces whatever the identity of the attacker. We have no relationship with the actions above either closely or at a distance; such actions are considered to be the role of internal security, called Asayish. It is notable that the both the YPG and Asayish are separate organizations that are independent of each other, although each is linked to the Kurdish Supreme Committee", YPG underlined.

On the other hand, -YPG said- we inform you with respect to the report, it did not mention the grievances and gross violations of human rights and arbitrary arrests, indiscriminate and enforced disappearances, crimes against humanity and war crimes committed against the Kurdish people in Syria by the regime and armed groups of the resistance, in particular, the calls for ethnic cleansing and bloodshed of Kurds and abuse by terrorist groups linked to al-Qaeda, such as the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham and Jabhat al-Nusta and Free Syrian Army brigades who are co-operating with them. YPG underlined that these terrorist groups have been killing and abducting Kurdish civilians and displacing them from their towns and villages, looting their property and possessions, blowing up their homes and places of work as was the case in the city of Tel-Abyad, and the towns Tel-Hasel, Tel-Aran and other Kurdish villages and towns; and have carried out terrorist operations such as booby-trapped cars and other mechanical vehicles at the checkpoints. These activities have taken many civilian and military lives.

YPG also drew the Commission's attention to the fact that its report did not mention the financial and military support given to these terrorist groups by some of the countries in the region that are hostile to the Kurdish people and their issues, who allow their lands to be used by these groups which make their bases there, and create safe corridors for transit in order to perform offensive operations and indiscriminate shelling of cities and towns in Western Kurdistan from outside and inside the Syrian border, in order to destabilize security and impose foreign agendas.

YPG said it was a national legitimate, multi-ethnic and multi-nationality military institution of sons and daughters of the components of the region, the Kurds, Arabs, Syrians, Assyrians, Turkoman and Armenians, who adopt the right of legitimate self-defence in accordance with international laws. "YPG’s mission is to protect Western Kurdistan and all its ethnic, national, and religious components, and to provide security and safety to citizens wherever they are; to deter any military force aimed at de-stabilizing civil peace and stability; it pledges to defend the gains and the values of freedom and social democracy, and the legitimate aspirations of the Kurdish and Syrian people in their revolution against dictatorship and the forces of terror and darkness", it highlighted.

The General Command of YPG said they accordingly send an invitation to the International Independent Investigation Commission of the Syrian Arab Republic to come to Western Kurdistan and the areas under the control of our forces to investigate the facts in relation to the allegations and accusations in your report to lift any doubt.


YPG in turn called also on the Human Rights Council at the United Nations to send the Rapporteurs of the relevant Committees of Human Rights and those responsible for dealing with relevant parties, to witness a pledge by YPG to bide by the contents of the International Bill of Human Rights and the Geneva Convention for the Prisoners of War and Protection of Civilians, and the Convention on the Non-Applicability of Statutory Limitations to War Crimes, and Crimes Against Humanity, and to agreements to prohibit the use of internationally prohibited weapons and all relevant protocols.

YPG added that they had an open door for all regional and international observers, human rights organizations and civil society institutions to monitor and conduct necessary investigations.

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