Is it Genocide?
Turkey Targets Syria’s Christians,
Yazidis & Kurds
Expert Panel on Turkey’s Killing Spree Threatening the Survival of Christians and Other Vulnerable NE Syrian Communities
(WASHINGTON, D.C.)—In just five days in November, Turkey attacked the Autonomous Administration of Northeast Syria (AANES) over 2,500 times and has announced plans for a ground assault leading many human rights organizations to question whether Turkey’s actions are genocidal. Forty-eight people have been killed, scores wounded, and 2,300 civilian buildings, homes, and infrastructure sites have been hit.
Turkey’s relentless attacks and invasions since AANES joined the US led Coalition in defeating ISIS in 2018 have killed and wounded thousands and displaced hundreds of thousands of civilians—replacing religious freedom and peace with Islamist rule and constant chaos in territory it seized. Turkey acts based on their (disproved) claims that AANES presents a national security threat to Turkey. In reality, it is trying to finish the job ISIS started and annihilate religious and ethnic minorities: Christians (Syriacs, Armenians and Assyrians), Yazidis, and Kurds.
From November 20-25), Turkey unleashed at least 2,500 attacks (air, mortar, drone, artillery, etc.) on AANES. The targets were overwhelmingly civilian private property (2,332), followed by public infrastructure (94), and military facilities (72). Turkey destroyed a children’s hospital, a health center, an electric power station, essential oil and gas processing facilities, critical grain silos, and a major bakery. Turkey appears focused on depriving the civilian population of food, heat, and water as winter sets in. It even dropped bombs on tent camps housing survivors of its earlier invasions. The SDF was the primary fighting force against ISIS when it had US air support, but it has no aircraft or anti-aircraft weapons to defend against Turkey’s assaults, which often use US supplied F-16’s to attack.
Attacks and deaths continue daily. Both Genocide Watch and the Lemkin Institute for Genocide Prevention have issued a “Red Alert” Genocide Warning noting: “These military attacks by Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s regime are part of a wider Turkish policy of annihilation of the Kurdish and Assyrian people in northern Syria and Iraq” and its genocidal policy towards these groups (which dates back over 100 years). The US government has publicly and privately demanded that Turkey stop but Turkey continues to say it will invade and take over a 30-mile territory along its border with Syria that will eliminate most minority population centers and cause hundreds of thousands to flee or face death and destruction.
Join an expert panel discussion on the conflict and evidence of Turkey’s genocidal actions against Christians, Yazidis, Kurds, and other ethno-religious minorities of northeast Syria, and what the US and international community should do to stop Turkey.
- Frank Gaffney: President and CEO, Save the Persecuted Christians; Executive Chairman, Center for Security Policy; Vice-Chair, Committee on the Present Danger: China
- Nadine Maenza: President, IRF Secretariat; former Chair (2021) and Vice-Chair (2019) of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) – Topic: AANES unique democracy and importance in protecting and empowering minorities
- Lauren Homer: Attorney and President, Law and Liberty Trust (LawandLiberty); Co-Chair Middle East Working Group IRF Roundtable – Topic: Turkey’s threats to religious freedom, minorities, and US foreign policy priorities in the region
- Charmaine Hedding: President, The Shai Fund (ShaiFund) – Topic: The resilience of the AANES following the defeat of ISIS and humanitarian needs to help minorities survive.
- Kino Gabriel: Research consultant for the Syriac Strategic Research Center; former Military Command and Military Spokesperson for the Syriac Military Council and Syrian Democratic Forces and former Member of the Legislative Council, Democratic Self-Administration, Jazira Canton – Topic: The long struggle for freedom against ISIS and Turkey’s efforts to impose Islamist rule on Christians and other minorities
- Gregory Stanton: President and Chairman, Genocide Watch (Genocide Watch); former research professor in genocide studies and prevention at the School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University (2010-2019); James Farmer Professor in Human Rights at the University of Mary Washington (2003-2009); – Topic: Genocide Emergency – Turkey’s Aggression in Syria