SNHR Condemns the Syrian Democratic Forces’ Arrest and Assault of Civilians During a Protest in Hasaka Governorate

Photo showing SDF personnel assaulting protesters in al Qamishli city in the suburbs of Hasaka governorate on September 28, 2022 | Photo source: Bas News Agency.

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Paris – Syrian Network for Human Rights:

The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) attacked and humiliated civilians, including teachers and students from several local schools, as well as media personnel, in the city of Qamishli in the northeastern suburbs of Hasaka governorate, on September 28, 2022, while they were participating in a peaceful demonstration in front of the United Nations headquarters in Qamishli city’s al Siyahi neighborhood. The protest took place over a decision to ban the teaching of the same educational curriculum set by the Syrian regime’s government in schools located in areas under SDF control, and to close private schools and institutes using this curriculum.

SNHR documented the arrest/detention of at least 11 civilians who participated in the demonstration. The arrests were accompanied by verbal insults and beatings, with all of those detained being taken to an unknown destination.

The SNHR obtained video clips and photos that show carloads of SDF personnel storming the demonstration and then violently beating the protesters, in a policy clearly aimed at repressing and silencing the people by military force.

SNHR condemns the Syrian Democratic Forces’ detention of civilians and use of violence against protesting teachers, media workers, and students, which we consider to be a violation of their basic rights of peaceful expression of opinion, and calls for the protesters’ immediate release, for financial compensation to be paid to them, and for full atonement for the unjust arrest and trauma they have suffered.

SNHR also calls on the US-led Coalition forces and countries supporting the Syrian Democratic Forces to open investigations and hold those responsible accountable for their egregious violations of human rights in northeastern Syria, and to end the current state of complete impunity. We also call on these backers to put pressure on the Syrian Democratic Forces to stop detentions in retaliation for the free expression of opinion, and to act to ensure that the fate of individuals forcibly disappeared by the Syrian Democratic Forces is revealed, and that those arbitrarily detained, especially teachers, are released. We also urge them to support the establishment of an impartial and independent judiciary in SDF-controlled areas that will prohibit military authorities from carrying out arbitrary arrests and enforced disappearances on their own, and hold those responsible for violations against the local population to account for their crimes.