US-Backed Kurds Accused of Committing War Crimes in Syria
The report by Amnesty International documented “deliberate displacement of thousands of civilians and the razing of entire villages" by the local Autonomous Administration controlled by the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its military wing YPG in retaliation for residents’ perceived sympathies with Islamic State.
“By deliberately demolishing civilian homes, in some cases razing and burning entire villages, displacing their inhabitants with no justifiable military grounds, the Autonomous Administration is abusing its authority and brazenly flouting international humanitarian law, in attacks that amount to war crimes,” Lama Fakih, a senior crisis adviser at the watchdog said in a statement following the report’s release.
Amnesty International urged the Autonomous Administration to “immediately cease the unlawful demolition of civilian homes” and compensate those civilians who have been subject to unlawful forced displacement. Besides, the watchdog called on the states supporting the Autonomous Administration to “take urgent measures to ensure that the provision of military assistance, including military co-ordination with, the Autonomous Administration is not being misused to commit violations of international humanitarian law.”
Syria has been involved in a civil war since 2011, with the government fighting against several opposition factions and extremist groups, such as ISIL and the Nusra Front. Since the beginning of the war, the United States and some of its allies have supported a so-called moderate Syrian opposition faction, providing them with military supplies.