An appeal to protect civilians and stop the military escalation in Afrin.
As military operations continue to escalate in the area of Afrin, northern Syria, tens of thousands of civilians face an immediate threat to their lives. There is the potential of a major humanitarian crisis as a result of continued violence, the wave of displacement from these areas and the absence of an effort to stop this. Since the beginning of the military operations in these areas, hundreds of thousands of civilians have been driven from their homes or unable to leave.
We fear that some extremist groups will use civilians as pawns and commit crimes against them, as has happened in Iraq. There are great fears that Yazidis will be targeted on the basis of their religious identity and there is evidence that this has already begun.
Yazidis and other civilians in the areas of Basofan, Qiba, and Sherwa face great danger from nearby bombing, looting, and robbery. There are 3500 Yazidis in the village of Basofan, many of whom have fled from surrounding villages. People fled today for regime-controlled areas away from Turkish forces. Yazidi shrines are being burned, and forcible conversions are taking place on those remaining in these areas.
This is a flagrant violation of human rights and requires intervention and serious measures taken to stop this from continuing. Due to current events and the large wave of civilian displacement, we call on the United Nations, the European Union, the International Security Council and those on the ground, such as Russia and the United States, to work on the following points to avoid further escalation and endangering the lives of civilians.
1-Work on a cease-fire in the city of Afrin and the delivery of urgent humanitarian and medical assistance to the displaced persons stranded in these areas
2-Open a secure corridor from the areas of Al-Nobeel and Al-Zahhra towards Aleppo and Al-Jazeera in order to remove civilians from the frontlines.
3-Provide necessary protection for the civilians who have fled from Basoufan.
4-Call on the conflicting sides not to use civilians as human shields for their political agendas and to move them far away from the front-line.
Yazda Board of Directors