ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on Saturday called for “urgent international action” to put an end to an increased wave of violence in Syria, including the Kurdish region of Afrin.
“This past week has been one of the bloodiest periods of the entire conflict, with wave after wave of deadly airstrikes leading to civilian casualties,” UN Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said in an official statement.
The UN official highlighted “reports of civilians including children being killed and injured as a result of airstrikes and ground-based strikes” by the Turkish army in the Syrian Kurdistan (Rojava) enclave of Afrin.
On Jan. 20, Turkish warplanes began striking Afrin as dozens of civilians, including children and women, were reported to have been killed by air raids and shelling.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says the offensive is meant to clear Syria’s Kurdish-held northwest district of People’s Protection Units (YPG) fighters who Turkey claims are an offshoot of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
Ankara labels the US-backed Kurdish forces a “terrorist organization” and is angry with Washington’s support for the YPG.
The US, which has backed the Kurds in the ongoing battle against the Islamic State (IS) in Syria has called on Turkey to limit its military offensive in the Kurdish region.
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights also pointed to other conflict zones in Syria as Syrian regime forces continue their assault on rebel-held Idlib Province and areas of eastern Gouta.
“The conduct and management of this war has been utterly shameful from the outset, and the failure to end it marks an epic failure of global diplomacy,” Al Hussein concluded.