Turkey, Syrian allies accused of torture, mutilation of Kurdish fighters after footage surfaces

Turkey, Syrian allies accused of torture, mutilation of Kurdish fighters after footage surfaces
Footage has surfaced purportedly showing Turkish-backed Syrian fighter committing atrocities against Syrian Kurdish fighters in northern Syria.
2 min read
26 October, 2019
Turkish-backed Syrian forces have been accused of committing war crimes [Getty]
Footage of alleged atrocities committed by Turkish-backed Syrian rebels against Kurdish fighters in northern Syria have circulated online and across Kurdish areas of the war-torn country, sparking calls for war crimes investigations.

The videos reportedly show Turkish-backed Arab fighters torturing captives and mutilating dead combatants.

A video which surfaced earlier this week purportedly shows the Ankara-linked fighters dragging a Kurdish fighter while threatening to behead him. Another video shows an alleged Arab fighter mutilating the body of a dead Kurdish fighter to the sound of jeering from other members of the Turkey-backed force.

The videos have sparked strong criticism, including from the United States' special envioy for Syria, who described the acts depicted in the footage as "potential war crimes". Kurdish officials, meanwhile, have insisted the footage proves allegations of "ethnic cleansing" by Ankara and its allies.

Hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced as a result of the assault by Turkey and Turkish-allied Syrian fighters to push Kurdish rebels back from the Turkey-Syria border.

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Turkey plans to establish a "safe zone" inside Syria about 75 miles long and 20 miles deep.

Critics have accused Ankara of ethnic cleansing, claiming its plans to push out the Kurdish militia will forcibly displace Kurdish civilians in an area which Ankara hopes to populate with up to three million Syrian refugees.

Turkey has brushed aside criticism of its cross-border operation, with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday filing a criminal complaint against a magazine which accused him of perpetrating ethnic cleansing.

The Turkish president has requested prosecutors in the capital Ankara launch a case against Etienne Gernelle, the managing editor of France's Le Point, and Romain Gubert, the author of the article, state news agency Anadolu reported.

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