What we call for
The people of North and East Syria have developed a radical new political and social system in which direct democracy, pluralism, feminism, ecology and a social and solidarity economy are central – the only region in the Middle East, if not the world, where this is true. They were also responsible for the territorial defeat of Islamic State in Syria, at a terrible cost in young lives and serious injuries.
Now the region and its institutions face enormous challenges, from the occupation of some zones by Turkey and its jihadist thugs, daily threats of further attacks by the Erdogan regime, a severe drought and the “weaponisation” of water resources by Turkey, a lack of recognition by the Assad regime and the world at large, the burden of IS prisoners and families and the covid-19 pandemic, among others.
In this light, we call on Australia and the international community, via its representative bodies including the UN, to ensure the following:
- Immediate, concerted and coordinated pressure on Turkey – including economic sanctions and collective trade, tourism and other boycotts as needed – to force the complete withdrawal of all military, security and intelligence personnel from occupied areas in Syria
- Similar action to stop Turkey’s constant attacks and threats of further invasion, to ensure its use of water and other resources as a weapon against the people of NES ends immediately and to create a safe, demilitarised border between Turkey and NES free of the risk of further attacks or sabotage
- Declaration by the UN Security Council of a No Fly Zone over NES, allowing humanitarian and civilian flights only and to be enforced under UN mandate by the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL
- An immediate, complete and verifiable end by all countries, particularly Turkey, to financing and providing arms, aid and other support to all jihadist militias and groups operating inside Syria or outside its borders, including the immediate surrender to the appropriate authorities of all those accused of or believed responsible for war crimes or crimes against humanity
- Establishment of UN-administered processes for the restitution of housing, property and land and the relocation of people to ensure policies of systematic demographic change and ethnic cleansing are reversed in ways that are equitable, humane and consistent with international human rights standards
- Similar UN-administered processes to provide compensation for economic and agricultural sabotage, theft and organised plunder by jihadist militia
- Official recognition for AANES as a legitimate political entity representing the aspirations and voices of millions of Syrians, including invitations for AANES to establish official representative offices in all UN member states
- An equal place for AANES, as a legitimate partner, in all talks focused on the future of Syria as a unified, democratic country, whether conducted inside Syria or via external facilitators
- IS prisoners and families: all countries to repatriate their nationals from NES as a matter of priority; an international tribunal to be established under UN mandate in NES or elsewhere to try those accused of IS crimes according to recognised legal standards, and ensure those convicted serve any sentences handed down by independent judges at institutions funded by the international community; and the burden of guarding IS prisoners and caring for their families to be assumed by international bodies while IS prisoners and family members remain in NES
- Appropriate aid and assistance to enable AANES to respond quickly and effectively to covid-19, including adequate vaccine doses and medical equipment and supplies, provided via safe border crossings guaranteed by the UN
- The provision of humanitarian aid on a systematic basis by international donors to ensure the medical, food, shelter and other needs of all displaced persons in NES are properly provided for
- Assistance and aid focused on the effective treatment and rehabilitation of all those wounded or maimed in the fight against Islamic State and other jihadist groups or against Turkish aggression