Human rights groups issue joint statement calling for action to stop abduction of women by Turkish-backed factions in Syria

In a joint statement, ten civil society and human rights organizations condemned the international silence and inaction regarding the gross violations of human rights committed by Turkey and the Turkish-backed Syrian National Army (SNA) in the Syrian areas under their occupation, especially in Cafrin (Afrin).

The violations and crimes committed against women in the city of Cafrin continue, read the statement, and according to recent statistics on the number of abducted women in SNA prisons, more than 1,000 abductees have been released, most of them without being charged with a crimes and many only released in exchange for ransom. The fates of more than 400 women forcefully disappeared by the SNA remain unknown.

In their statement, the organizations also called on all international human rights and civil rights organizations working in the field of human rights and women’s rights to break the silence and act immediately in accordance with international and humanitarian laws, conventions, and covenants to pressure the Turkish state to reveal the fate of abducted and disappeared persons and to hold the perpetrators of war crimes accountable.

The statement was issued by the following organizations:

    • The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR)
    • The Kurdish Legal Organization
    • Al-Jazera Human Rights Organization
    • Kurdish Antenna Organization – Belgium
    • Human Rights Organization in Afrin – Syria
    • Kurdish Civil Society Organization in Europe
    • Research and Protection of Women’s Rights in Syria Centre
    • Rights Defence Initiative (R.D.I)
    • Hevi Kurdish Association – Belgium
    • Violations Documentation Centre in Northern Syria


Earlier this month, 42 human rights organizations called on the U.S. impose sanctions on Turkish-backed groups in northern Syria and reformulate the ceasefire agreement signed with Turkey.

The United Nations Commission of Inquiry on Syria released a 25-page report on Tuesday calling on Turkey to put an end to wide-spread war crimes and crimes against humanity being committed by its proxy forces, the Syrian National Army (SNA), in the areas under its occupation.

According to the report, there is significant evidence that the Turkish-backed SNA has committed, and continue to commit torture, murder, displacement, rape, and the looting of property.