AOne and a half weeks after the Turkish invasion of northern Syria, humanitarian workers paint a dramatic picture of the situation of the people affected in the region. “Last week was a total mess for hundreds of thousands of Syrians,” said Karl Schembri, spokesman for the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), the TV channel CNN International. “They live in fear and insecurity, without knowing where the next bomb will explode,” said Schembri.
According to Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, the Turkish approach is “not in accordance with international law.” “If there is no basis in international law for such an invasion, then it is also not in accordance with international law,” said the SPD politician on the ZDF program “Berlin direct” on Sunday evening.
Turkey launched an offensive against the Kurdish militia YPG in northern Syria on 9 October, which it regards as a terrorist organization. Turkey was neither asked for help by the Syrian government nor given a mandate by the UN Security Council. Ankara therefore justifies the invasion of the right to self-defense.
No right to self-defense
The scientific service of the German Bundestag also concludes that the invasion is contrary to international law. In the opinion, which is the dpa, it is also stated that “even with generous interpretation” no right to self-defense can be seen.
At the same time, Maas warned Turkey about the loss of European payments under the Refugee Agreement. The Europeans did not agree that Syrian civil war refugees, who are now in Turkey, will be sent to northeastern Syria, the minister said. That is one of the issues Turkey has to talk about, also in the context of the refugee agreement: “Because we will not pay money for things that we believe are not legitimate or legal,” Maas said.
In just over a week, according to recent data from the UN Emergency Relief Agency Ocha, at least 165,000 people have been displaced by the fighting, including an estimated 70,000 children. “More and more of them will flee to neighboring Iraq and other areas that are not prepared to accept displaced families,” Schembri said. About 2,400 people have already crossed the border with Iraq. The situation in Syrian camps is “extremely worrying,” Ocha had announced on Friday.
Before the start of the Turkish attacks, more than 100,000 displaced people had already lived in camps in the region, said Schembri. They would have survived with the support of humanitarian workers. “All of this was jeopardized last week because most helpers had to flee themselves.” The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) tweeted on Sunday to be one of the last remaining international aid agencies in northern Syria.
“The invasion is a breach of international law,” said Green leader Annalena Baerbock on Sunday. The SPD faction leader in the Bundestag, Rolf Mützenich, brought an indictment against Erdogan before the International Criminal Court into play. “Erdogan is currently clearly in violation of international law. He is engaged in a war of aggression, “said Mutzenich of the” Welt am Sonntag “. German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer (CDU) said at the CSU party conference in Munich that armed force in the neighboring region “Turkey is the basis of the post-war order” – that one solves conflicts with diplomacy and not with the power of the strongest.
According to a ceasefire announced on Thursday, the Kurdish militia and Turkey had accused each other of breaching the agreement. Activists then reported isolated battles. According to the Kurdish Red Crescent, at least 20 civilians have died since the ceasefire was announced. It was unclear whether they were killed in battles since the beginning of the ceasefire or succumbed to injuries they had previously suffered.
According to reports from Ankara, despite the ceasefire, a Turkish soldier was killed by shelling by the Kurdish militia YPG. Another had been injured in the attack in the region around Tall Abjad, said the Ministry of Defense on Sunday. The soldiers had been shot at during an “reconnaissance and surveillance mission” including anti-tank weapons.
Turkey rejected the accusation of the human rights organization Amnesty International of committing war crimes in the attack. These are “objections” that are part of a defamation campaign against the Turkish anti-terrorist struggle, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said. Amnesty had accused the Turkish army and its allied rebels of “ruthless attacks on residential areas” that killed and injured civilians. Pro-Turkish rebels are also said to have beaten and shot a Syrian-Kurdish politician.
(TagToTranslate) Karl Schembri (t) Heiko Maas (t) Recep Tayyip Erdogan (t) SPD (t) YPG (t) Bundestag (t) CNN