KurdWatch, March 23, 2016—On the fifth anniversary of the start of the revolution in Syria on March 15, 2011, the report by the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria was discussed in the UN Human Rights Council. The representative of Syria accused the reporting of distinguishing between »good and bad terrorists« and of ignoring past human rights violations by the armed opposition. The commission’s chairman, Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro, rejected the accusations and asked the Syrian government to at long last grant the members of the commission access to Syrian territory. The representatives of numerous states emphasized the necessity of a political solution to the conflict and welcomed the resumed peace talks mediated by UN Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura the previous day.
Past human rights violations by the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its militia, the People’s Defense Units (YPG), carried out in the predominantly Kurdish regions of Jazirah, ʿAfrin and ʿAyn al‑ʿArab (Kobanî), are not mentioned in the report. Even the ongoing forced recruitment, including the recruitment of children, as well as the continuing persecution of people with links to the Kurdish National Council, finds no mention in the report. Mentioned is only the expulsion of the Arab residents in the region of Tall Abyad and in the south of the province al‑Hasakah as well as the YPG destruction of houses, also in the southern part of the al‑Hasakah province. Only the representative of Turkey in his statement pointed to the YPG’s arbitrary detention of civilians and the recruitment of child soldiers.