World Turkey Accused of War Crimes After Suspected White Phosphorus Use Against Kurds in Syria
Turkey dismisses US threats, amasses troops on Syrian border
Turkey said Tuesday it will go ahead with a military operation in northeastern Syria and won't bow to threats over its Syria plans, an apparent reply to U.S. President Donald Trump's warning. Turkey said Tuesday it will go ahead with a military operation in northeastern Syria and won't bow to threats over its Syria plans, an apparent reply to U.S. President Donald Trump's warning.
Turkey, a NATO member, has allegedly used chemical weapons against civilians in northern Syria.
Multiple sources have reported that white phosphorus-loaded munitions are believed to have been dropped in the border town of Ras al-Ayn after images and video surfaced of civilians, including children, suffering gruesome burns associated with the chemical.
Trump calls Turkey’s offensive in northern Syria ‘a bad idea’ as Republican criticism mounts
U.S. forces “should never have been there in the first place,” president tweets days after ordering troop withdrawal from the area.President Trump urged Turkey on Wednesday to protect civilians and safeguard Islamic State prisons as it launched a military operation in northern Syria against Syrian Kurdish forces, saying the United States would hold its NATO ally responsible for the consequences of its decision to attack a key U.S. counterterrorism partner.
Anthony Loyd, a journalist for The Times of London, was present at a Syrian-Kurdish hospital in Tal Tamir where a 13-year-old boy was brought in with associated injuries.
Trump says US secured 'most dangerous' IS fighters in Syria
US President Donald Trump said Wednesday that particularly dangerous Islamic State group fighters held by the Kurds in northeast Syria had been removed to US custody ahead of a Turkish attack Wednesday. "We are taking some of the most dangerous ISIS fighters out and we're putting them in different locations where it's secure," Trump said, using an acronym for the Islamic State group. "We have taken a certain number of ISIS fighters who are particularly bad and we've wanted to make sure nothing happened to them with respect to getting out," he said.
"The burns on the screaming child brought into the Syrian-Kurdish hospital at Tal Tamir were enough to reduce even hardened medical staff to silence yesterday," he wrote.
"Yet the terrible wounds that had all but flayed the 13-year-old Mohammed Hamid Mohammed's skin from his torso, penetrating deep into his flesh, suggested his injuries were caused by something far worse than blast alone.
"They added to the growing body of evidence that suggests Turkey, a NATO member, is using white phosphorus against Kurdish civilians in its eight-day offensive into northern Syria."
Loyd shared the images with Hamish de Bretton-Gordon, a British chemical weapons expert, who confirmed in his estimations that white phosphorus was used.
"This very much looks like it was caused by white phosphorus," Bretton-Gordon said.
"In 24 hours I have been shown more photographs of these kinds of burn than at any recent stage in Syria's war. White phosphorus is a horrific weapon, which can be delivered by aircraft or artillery. It reacts to the moisture in the skin in a way that intensifies its burning, so that water cannot put it out."
For Syria Kurds, the end of autonomy?
After years of working towards autonomy, Syria's Kurds have been dropped by their US ally and forced to call in the Damascus regime to stem a six-day Turkish offensive. But as President Bashar al-Assad's forces deploy towards the northern border, is the Kurdish minority giving up on autonomy?Why bring in the regime?Syria's Kurds have largely stayed out of the country's eight-year civil war, instead building their own institutions in regions they control in northern and northeastern Syria.
The use of chemical weapons was also documented by Mustafa Bali, head of media relations for the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF)—the Kurdish-led group currently trying to keep the Turkish invasion into northern Syria at bay.
"After eight days of fierce resistance by our fighters against heavy ground and aerial attacks of Turkey in Serekaniye, we suspect that unconventional weapons are used against SDF fighters upon the reports and signs we receive from the besieged town," Bali said on Twitter.
"We urge international organizations to send their teams to investigate some wounds sustained in attacks. The medical facilities in NE Syria lack expert teams following withdrawal of NGOs due to Turkish invasion attacks."
A corresponding video shows several children with severe burns around the body and face.
Use of white phosphorus on civilian targets is banned by the Geneva and Chemical Weapons conventions.
Newsweek has contacted the U.N.'s Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) for comment.
The allegations come as a press release on the OPCW website released on Thursday stated that Turkey donated €30,000 to the body in order to support construction of a new facility.
Kurds accuse Turkey of using banned incendiary weapons
The embattled Kurdish authorities in northeastern Syria on Thursday accused Turkey of resorting to banned weapons such as napalm and white phosphorus munitions, a charge Ankara has denied. The use of such weapons since the start of the cross-border assault by Turkey and its Syrian proxies could not be confirmed independently. In a statement issued eight days into the deadly offensive, the Kurdish administration said Turkey had resorted to their use because of unexpectedly stiff resistance by Kurdish fighters in the key border town of Ras al-Ain.
"The OPCW plays a significant role in the field of disarmament and international security and it is the central actor in the chemical non-proliferation regime," Turkey's ambassador to the OPCW Şaban Dişli said in the accompanying statement.
"This contribution is another display of the strong commitment of Turkey to the Chemical Weapons Convention and to the OPCW."
The allegations of chemical weapons use also come following an announcement from Vice President Mike Pence on Thursday that a ceasefire deal was reportedly agreed between Turkey and Kurdish-led forces.
Both sides have pushed back against the remarks, however, and evidence of clashes have continued to mount on Friday.
Turkey has denied any use of chemical weapons in a statement released on Thursday. It claimed that terrorists were staging the attacks.
"We receive information that terrorist organizations, after using chemical weapons on themselves, will throw the blame onto our armed forces and try to create perception," Minister of National Defense Hulusi Akar said.
"It is a fact known by everyone that there are no chemical weapons in the Turkish Armed Forces' inventory."
Newsweek has contacted the Department of Defense, the White House and NATO for comment.
Kurdish Forces Withdraw From Syrian Border Area .
The pullout fulfills part of the cease-fire agreement between Turkey and the U.S., as American troops also prepared to leave the country and its protracted conflict. Ankara agreed with Washington on Thursday to a five-day truce, during which the Syrian Kurds are expected to depart from an area Turkey has defined as a safe zone along the two nations’ borders. Both sides have accused each other of violating the cease-fire, with Ras al-Ain at the center of the fighting. require(["inlineoutstreamAd", "c.
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