Turkey’s ethnic cleansing of the Kurds in Syria is ongoing - Independent

Turkey has been continuing efforts for ethnic cleansing of Kurds in north Syria by using methods that make life impossible for the civilian population, which are types of atrocities that are largely ignored and never reach the news agenda, said Patrick Cockburn, a veteran reporter for the Independent, on Friday.

Turkey launched a military offensive against Kurdish-controlled towns in northern Syria along its border on Oct. 9, and the operation ended after nine days as Turkey made two separate agreements with the United States and Russia for the withdrawal of Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), which Ankara sees as a national security threat.

Turkey’s acts that could amount to ethnic cleansing received maximum publicity in the early days of Turkey’s incursion with angry condemnation of the forced displacement of 190,000 Kurds living close to the Syrian-Turkish border, Cockburn said. 

“Videos showed fleeing Kurdish civilians being dragged from their cars and shot by the side of the road and reporters visiting hospitals saw children dying from the effects of white phosphorus that eats into the flesh and had allegedly been delivered in bombs or shells dropped or fired by the advancing Turkish forces,” he said. 

But now complaints about the brutality of Turkish forces and Turkey-backed Syrian rebels, branded as the Syrian National Army (SNA), is becoming blurred and less spoken of, though it is still ongoing, he said. 

“Making life impossible for a civilian population can take other effective but less dramatic forms than the use of white phosphorus or roadside killings,” Cockburn said. 

The Turkish proxy forces has been depriving some 400,000 people of drinking water by preventing the repair of  the Alouk water station near the northeastern Syrian town of Ras al Ayn, Cockburn said about more indirect forms of pressure on civilian population. 

“We know that Turkey’s pressure on the Kurds to leave Rojava could be a lot worse because this has already happened in Afrin, the isolated Kurdish enclave north of Aleppo that Turkey invaded and occupied in early 2018,” the journalist said. “Information from Afrin is difficult to obtain, but what news does emerge tells of Kurds losing their houses, land and farm machinery and being at the mercy of predatory Syrian Arab militia proxies under Turkish control.”

Such atrocities are ethnic cleansing in action and are what U.S. President Donald Trump greenlit by pulling out American troops in north Syria which paved the way for the Turkish incursion, he said.