Human Rights Watch demands Turkey to investigate civilian deaths in Afrin
YEREVAN, FEBRUARY 23, ARMENPRESS. Human Rights Watch says Turkey is not taking precautions in its military operation in Afrin, which has led to civilian deaths.
“It appears that vulnerable civilians are facing displacement and death because of the way Turkey’s latest offensive is being conducted,” said Lama Fakih, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “Turkey is obligated to take every feasible precaution to avoid harming or killing civilians, and to help them if they want to flee the violence.”
Human Rights Watch conducted an investigation of three attacks which took place in January, which claimed 26 civilian lives including 17 children.
Human Rights Watch sent a letter to Turkey’s defense minister on January 26 with its findings about the civilian deaths but has not received a response.
If the Turkish armed forces failed to detect the presence of dozens of civilians at the sites it targeted on January 21, 27, and 28 where civilians were killed, this raises serious concerns about how Turkey ascertains whether civilians are in the vicinity of a target and whether they took all feasible precautions to minimize civilian harm, Human Rights Watch said.
In January 2018, the Turkish military began an operation in the Kurdish-majority Afrin Canton and the Tel Rifaat Area of Shahba Canton in Northern Syria. Turkey code-named the operation as Operation Olive Branch. In the pretext of fighting terror, Turkey is actually targeting the Kurdish population.
English –translator/editor: Stepan Kocharyan