US State Department report on international religious freedom highlights violations of Turkish-backed groups in northern Syria

WASHINGTON, D.C. — In its latest report on international religious freedom, the US State Department confirmed that groups affiliated with the Turkish occupation in Syria have committed severe violations against Christians, Kurds, and Yezidis in the occupied areas of northern Syria.

According to the report, these violations include killing and kidnapping civilians, rape and sexual violence, forced displacement from homes, transferring detained civilians across the border to Turkey, child recruitment, theft of private property, and desecration of religious sites.

The report also highlights that the remaining Christians in Holeb (Aleppo) are concerned about potential attacks by Turkish-backed groups. It adds that Yezidi children have been forcibly converted to Islam and that incidents of kidnapping, illegal detention, torture, and forced religious conversion are common as part of a broader agenda of demographic change.

Furthermore, the report concludes that human rights organizations have documented that the terrorist group Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham, which controls much of Edleb (Idlib), has committed violations against religious and ethnic minorities, including the seizure of Christian property.