WASHINGTON, D.C. — Despite the U.S. and international community’s preoccupation with fighting the Islamic State and other terrorist groups, they cannot turn a blind eye to the crimes Turkey and Turkish-backed groups, writes Maya Carlin, analyst at the Center for Security Policy in Washington D.C. and a former Anna Sobol Levy Fellow at IDC Herzliya in Israel, for the National Interest.
“The international community must call out the atrocities Erdogan’s military forces are sustaining against vulnerable minority groups.”
The Yezidi minority in Iraq and Syria has faced considerable persecution at the hands of Turkish-backed militias as part of Ankara’s operations.
“On February 5, the day before the burial of the 104 Yazidis in Iraq, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that Turkish forces have shelled and launched airstrikes targeting villages north of Aleppo,” writes Carlin. “These villages are home to some of the thousands of Yazidi minorities that were ethnically cleansed in Afrin and forced to seek refuge in neighboring districts.”
The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) stated that “thousands of Yazidis who fled Afrin and now reside near Aleppo are currently under airstrikes by Turkey.”
USCIRF Cmmr @NadineMaenza:"Thousands of #Yazidi IDPs who fled #Afrin & now reside near Aleppo are currently under airstrikes by #Turkey. We call on the USG to pressure Turkey to cease all such operations against this vulnerable community in #Syria & #Iraq."https://t.co/SUkgijMZuZ
— USCIRF (@USCIRF) February 12, 2021
This past week, Turkey has sought to deflect responsibility for the atrocities committed by its own soldiers and the proxies under their command with propaganda claiming that Kurdish groups are to blame, going so far as to say, despite all evidence to the contrary, that Yezidis “feel safer with the presence of Turkish forces”.
Yezidis from Afrin have taken to social media to combat the Turkish claims.
I’m Kurdish Yezidi from Afrin. All my family fled from Turkish army and his jihadists (ISIS & Al-Qaeda).
They destroyed ALL the Yezidi graves. This is my own family and the graves are my grand parents on the video. pic.twitter.com/lLwwIDwKNV
— Arya (@aryajemo) February 26, 2021