The US has been heavily backing the Kurdish Peoples’ Protection Units (YPG) faction for months in Syria, and is planning to dramatically step up weapons shipments to them as “moderate” allies. Yet Amnesty International’s latest report details significant war crimes committed by the YPG in its territory in Syria’s northeast.
The report details mass home demolitions carried out on the orders of the PYD, the political wing of the YPG, targeting non-Kurds, primarily Sunni Arabs, in the Hasakeh Province. In some cases, YPG forces were found to have wiped out entire villages, claiming the villages to be “pro-ISIS.”
The report sees “clear evidence of a deliberate, coordinated campaign of collective punishment,” saying after their homes were wiped out, the civilians were ordered to leave Kurdish territory, and threatened with US airstrikes if they remained.
After the report’s release, the YPG insisted it was entirely untrue, though other YPG officials had confirmed the expulsions during the report’s collection phase, saying they were “moved for their own safety” and that these were “isolated incidents.” The incidents, it seems, amounted to thousands of people.
During their brief summer offensive in Raqqa Province, the YPG produced a massive influx of Sunni Arab refugees fleeing into ISIS territory, as towns they took over were placed under harsh restrictions. Though the Amnesty report largely details Hasakeh, it does reference incidents in Raqqa as well.
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