Since last April armed groups – including Liwa Al-Tawheed, Jabhat al-Nusrah and Ghoraba al-Sham – have besieged the predominantly Kurdish town of Aleppo, the report says. Photo: AFP
LONDON, United Kingdom – In a report this week, the United Nations accuses Kurdish armed groups of committing human rights abuses in the Syrian civil war, and says it will investigate the killings of Kurdish civilians by anti-government groups outside the city of Aleppo.
In a report released this week, and based on 258 interviews, the UN accuses both the government in Syria and pro-government forces of crimes against humanity.
The report says the UN sees no military solution for the Syrian conflict and believes that “a political solution” is the only path to peace.
The Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), which is affiliated with the militant Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), backs a political solution and rejects foreign intervention. It also supports the UN position for more diplomacy.
The UN says it will investigate claims by the PYD of human rights abuses in Til Aran and Aleppo in its next reporting period.
The PYD claims that a brutal massacre of Kurdish civilians took place in the countryside of Aleppo in late July by jihadi fighters involved in Syria’s complex civil war. But the armed Islamist groups have denied they target Kurdish civilians.
The UN also mentions an agreement by the Kurdish National Council and the PYD to hold elections and form a transitional government for Syria’s Kurdish regions.
“Despite tensions (between Kurdish parties), recent statements made by representatives of the Kurdish parties indicate that parliamentary elections are being prepared in the areas under Kurdish control. Elections will be preceded by a referendum on an interim constitution currently being drafted,” the report says.
It also refers to clashes between the PYD’s People’s Protections Units (YPG) militia, and jihadi groups affiliated with al-Qaida, that erupted on July 17.
Although the PKK is accused of supporting the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad, the UN report says that the YPG is neutral, and “clashed with both government forces and anti-government armed groups.”
It also accuses the YPG of arbitrary arrests. “In May, YPG forces detained opposition activists. YPG was involved in “tit-for-tat” abductions with other opposition groups,” it says.
It also reports that YPG fighters attacked anti-government supporters in February 2013 in Aleppo, and that accounts were received of detainees being taken to makeshift prisons near the city, where they were beaten.
The report accuses the YPG of violating children’s rights in Afrin and Hassakah.
“The YPG recruited boys and girls from the age of 12. In late 2012, large numbers were recruited to counter an attempt by Jabhat Al-Nusra to enter Al Hasakah from Turkey,” the report says, referring to the main Islamist group whose fighters have been involved in clashes with the YPG militias.
The report also accuses the YPG of the unlawful killing of Kurdish protestors in the city of Amuda last June, in which a 12-year old girl and a 15-year old boy were killed.
The YPG claims its forces were attacked by armed groups in the town, but the UN says that the “YPG committed an abuse of human rights associated with the disproportionate use of force.” But it also accuses anti-YPG groups of violating human rights.
Since last April armed groups – including Liwa Al-Tawheed, Jabhat al-Nusrah and Ghoraba al-Sham – have besieged the predominantly Kurdish town of Aleppo, the report says.
According to the UN report, armed groups attacked the YPG after accusing it of allowing a flow of goods into the besieged pro-regime town of Nubul.
“Shortly thereafter, supplies of food and electricity were cut to Afrin. With no clean water entering the town, there has been a rise in infectious diseases,” the report says.
The UN says that by “laying siege, anti-government armed groups in Aleppo violated their obligations under international law.”