SOHR exclusive | “Turkey aims at expanding its presence in Syria and bringing in more Islamist militias,” says Nadine Maenza • The Syrian Observatory For Human Rights
The Syrian Observatory For Human Rights

SOHR exclusive | “Turkey aims at expanding its presence in Syria and bringing in more Islamist militias,” says Nadine Maenza

The “USCIRF” former Chairwoman: “US mission in Syria manifested in defeating and eliminating ISIS, while Turkey's practices contribute to reviving the organisation.”


Nadine Maenza: “Every country has to take back its citizens, who had joined ISIS, immediately.”


In an exclusive interview with SOHR, the former Chairwoman of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), Nadine Maenza has talked bout Turkey’s objectives and interests in Syria, the role of the USA and the situation of women in light of the ongoing war.


Mrs. Nadine says that the international community has to condemn the current escalation of violence by Turkey in north-east Syria region, noting that 37 villages in the Jazeera region alone were bombarded two days ago, which left ten people, including two civilians, dead and 17 others, including 12 civilians among them were two children, injured.


The “USCIRF” former Chairwoman has noted out that the mission of the USA in Syria is manifested in eliminating the “Islamic State” organisation, remarking that Turkey’s practices aim at reviving the extremist group, as the escalating violence by Turkey is accompanied by ISIS’ increasing activity, as she has described.


Mrs. Maenza sees that the only way to eliminate ISIS permanently is manifested in setting a mechanism to put an end to security vacuum, and that is exactly what the “Autonomous Administration in northern and north-eastern Syria” (AANES) and Syria Democratic Forces (SDF) have done. In additions, AANES and SDF managed to secure decent standards of religion freedom, documented by the US Commission on International Religious Freedom, and enabled women to hold a half of official posts. Turkey seeks to abort this success, as Mrs. Maenza has said.


Commenting on Turkey’s objectives and interests in Syria, Mrs. Maenza says that Turkey seeks to expand its presence in Syria and bring in more extremist militiamen, who have committed horrific crimes against innocent civilians in areas they have captured inside Syria. Such militiamen have focused on eliminating religious and racial minorities, Yazidi, Christian and Kurdish women in particular, and these segments of Syrian society are more vulnerable to extreme forms of violence and abuse, according to Mrs. Nadine.



Q: Despite ceasefire in some areas, violations against human rights continued in Syria. How can these violations be brought to an end and violators among militias and factions operating in Syria be held accountable?


A: We hope that the USA will use every possible authority to force Turkey to stop these war crimes, such as imposing economic sanctions which could potentially affect Turkey’s economy. In addition, leaders of militias whose members commit such horrific crimes, which have been documented by the United Nations and many other organisations, must be punished and sanctioned.



Q: Is not it time to adopt an international mechanism to hold war criminals in Syria accountable?


A: It is time to start a UN-sponsored trials to ensure fair trials and disclosing war crimes and the genocide committed by ISIS in Syria and Iraq. Sadly, it seems that we are not even close to the desired fair trial with eight years having passed since the genocide was committed.


Regarding the crimes committed currently by Turkey, as it continues its attacks in north-east Syria region, influential powers have to try every possible way to stop these crimes. Being a prominent member of NATO, the international community finds it difficult to exert pressure on Turkey. However, Turkey must comply with standards and fundamental concepts of the International Humanitarian Law and the Charter of the United Nations, just like other powers.


Q: Syrian women are struggling with a real tragedy due to the vicious war, in which women were the most vulnerable constituent of Syrian society, Has the international community turned its back on the tragic situation of Syrian women? And how can the Syrian women gain dignity, respect and their rightful place in society be rehabilitated?


A: I know so many Syrian women standing for equality and peace, and they are among the bravest I have ever met. It is heart breaking to hear that they are still enduring violence and abuse, especially those in Afrin where the Turkish-backed Islamist militias continue their reprehensible practices and blatant violations against them. I appreciate the diligent efforts exerted by many organisations to highlight these practices and violations.