Letter argues US withdrawal would devastate the area’s Christians, Yazidis, Kurds, and Arabs
The International Religious Freedom (IRF) Roundtable, a multi-faith coalition of NGO’s and religious organizations that support religious freedom and human rights, just released a letter to President Donald Trump asking him to reconsider allowing Turkey into the Syrian Northeast after US forces are withdrawn. The letter argues this would devastate the area’s Christians, Yazidis, Kurds, and Arabs, as demonstrated by Turkey’s horrific war crimes in Afrin in the last 12 months. The letter urges the President to instead set up long-term security arrangements to protect the area’s residents and our valiant allies, the Syrian Democratic Forces, from both Turkish and ISIS threats. It asks that the area’s civilian leaders, the Syrian Democratic Council, participate in post-war peace negotiations and that the US support their (unique in the region) pluralistic, democratic governance system that gives religious freedom and equal rights to all faiths, all ethnic groups, and women.
Failure to do so could push the SDF/SDC to allow Assad regime control, crush democratic and religious freedom aspirations throughout Syria, and give Iran the ability to imperil minorities in both Syria and Iraq and endanger Israel. Pleas from representatives of Christian and Yazidi communities in NE Syria and a Genocide Warning issued by Genocide Watch about Turkey’s intentions are attached to the letter which was signed by 68 organizations and individuals. Read the letter here.
Lauren Homer, international lawyer and IRF advocate and co-chair of the IRF Roundtable Middle East Working Group, will speak about the letter following an expert seminar on the future of Northeastern Syria on Monday, February 4th at the National Press Club. For information about the press conference visit arcdem.org.