If you didn’t think the human rights crisis in Syria could get any worse, you were wrong.
In addition to accusations of a new gas attack by Bashar Assad’s regime in the city of Douma, it appears Turkish forces in Syria, with the approval of Assad and allies Russia and Iran, are set for a massive slaughter of Kurds in the city of Afrin where between 50,000 and 70,000 people are cut off from power, water and food supplies and sealed inside the city limits by their own government.
It appears Syria’s war on ISIS has become a war on its own people – a war not only on Sunni Muslims but Kurds.
WND broke the story Monday. It has received little attention elsewhere.
In addition to posing a massive humanitarian crisis, it also suggests a growing alliance between Turkey, Russia, Syria and Iran is emerging.
The Turkish army has been encircling the city of Afrin for months, conducting both aerial bombardments and ground attacks. Now, according to reliable sources, Turkey has sent in militia forces to destroy property, loot businesses and homes and terrorize the remaining population.
Already, as many as 137,000 people from the city and its environs have been turned into refugees, and there are fears those remaining may be targeted for extermination.
“This has the makings of a slaughter,” a Kurdish-American source who has been in touch with family in the city told WND.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has made public statements saying the Kurds in Iraq, who voted for independence, will pay a big price. It appears this growing alliance between Turkey, Syria, Russia and Iran may permit the Turks to exact revenge and deal with the American-backed Kurds throughout the region.
This alliance should be of great concern. You might call it “the new axis of evil” in the Middle East. This comes at a time when the U.S. presence in Syria is diminishing as the war on ISIS there is winding down.
However, the U.S. military there fears the shift in focus from ISIS to ethnic conflicts being carried out by Turkey, with the apparent consent of its allies, will permit ISIS to regroup.
Col. Ryan Dillon, the U.S. military spokesman on the ground there, said military leaders have noticed a fall in the number of airstrikes against ISIS targets – not because the terrorist group has been eliminated, but because a stall in ground operations caused by the Afrin offensive allowed ISIS fighters the time and space to dig in.
Turkey is issuing statements denying it has any intention of “occupying” Afrin, though it does not deny its militia groups are currently harassing citizens there. Russia, meanwhile, has issued statements saying it expects Turley to turn over control of the city to Syria.
Nevertheless, there are widespread reports that Syrian forces are not permitting civilians from Afrin to escape the violence and deprivation.
Erdoğan, meanwhile, is very proud of his attack on the city of Afrin. Over the weekend, he asked celebrities in Turkey to compose an anthem commemorating the military attack. The Turkish president had previously stated that he wished to have Turkish soldiers ”walking to a new anthem, just as they [once] did with the anthems of the janissary band,” a reference to the Ottoman military marching band, held to the be the oldest of its kind in the world.
The celebrities involved dutifully released a statement saying they wished to pay Turkish soldiers back for their ”sacrifices,” stand by their side and wish to gift the new anthem to them and the ”sincere people of Turkey.”
The Turkish military campaign against the city of Afrin has been ironically dubbed “Operation Olive Branch.”