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UN to Investigate Claims of Kurdish Massacre in Syria

By Wladimir van Wilgenburg 12/9/2013
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
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.”



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Azad | 12/9/2013
In the first paragraph I'm pretty certain the writer meant to say 'Jihadist' and not 'Kurdish'. It's a really big mistake as it blames the wrong group for killing Kurds!
Atheist | 13/9/2013
I hope it's going to be a complete investigation and not another superficial report. From all what we've been hearing it's clear that serious atrocities were committed against the Kurdish population. Who committed those atrocities? what was the role of Syrian government and regional countries. To be credible the UN investigation must also look at the role of Turkey in supporting Al-Nusra and other jihadists groups in the atrocities against Kurds. How did the jihadists groups make passage into northern part of Syria, where does their logistical support come from? How are they able to mount a sustained terror campaign and who is their lifeline?
sam | 13/9/2013
YPG is the only force are defending kurds from terrorist which are suported by turkish terroris state,and if there was no PYD,and YPG the turkish terrorist state would controled the all area,and terrorise the people. for example people who escaped to south kurds land it was a result of turkish terrorist policy and it was suported by PDK Barzani.for this reason Barzani closed the border against people west of kurds land,and he denied what happend against kurds there, also he suporting alparty, and azadi which they are sharing crime commited against civilin with turkish terrorist state.Turkish terrorist state and who work for them are responsable for those crime.And this terrorist state suplied a chemical weapons to terrorist in sirya.
BAKUR ROJAVA | 13/9/2013
Unfortunately the international community behind those bestial jihadist groups all know very well the central role of TURKEY in the situation, so don't expect anything from this so called investigation. It is all organised at the Syrian-Turkish border. They all defend the satu quo in middle east and those so called "borders", while Kurds are a threat to their lovely satu quo. Therefore, we need OUR revolution, we need to cancel the Lausanne agreement of 1923, to establish a united and independant KURDISTAN, and to impose it to the United Nations.
Hasan | 14/9/2013
A very upsetting report by the UN which needs to be redefined clearly. The YPG has not been committing any crime of international law rather protecting their rights and also others living in this region as humans! YPG has not committed any form of genocide rather the groups "al nusra" supported by their members ie turkey have been killing not only Kurds but Arabs and Christians for not allowing an Islamic state to be formed in the north of Syria.they (the al nusra and so called FSA) have murdered people for not only being from a different religion but also for being from a different sects of Islam. There are many videos on the Internet that clearly shows this! And for this reason over 44,000 Kurds crossed over to Iraq in a matter of two weeks! If the UN still wants to be known as a creditable institute for peace, I say they need to do a lot of rethinking of the accusations they are making.
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