Turkish-backed proxy fighters in the Free Syrian Army loot goods from a shop in Afrin during Operation Olive Branch in 2018. Photo: Rami Khoury | AFP
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — Because of a record of continued reported human rights violations carried out by Turkish-backed proxy fighters in the Afrin region of Syria, the European Union parliament called for formal suspension of EU ascension talks with Ankara.
A resolution which was adopted with 47 votes in favor and seven against on Wednesday the European Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee also voiced "serious concerns" over Turkey's "poor track record in upholding human rights, the rule of law and media freedom."
Concerning Syria, the EU resolution expressed concerns that armed groups backed by Ankara carry out widespread violations against the local population the northwest region of Afrin in Syria.
Turkish forces and their proxy fighters took over Afrin after a 58-day campaign in March 2018. Kurdish residents who fled the Operation Olive Branch have been prevented from returning to their homes, leading to accusations of ethnic cleansing.
According to the UN, 150,000 remain displaced in camps in the Aleppo countryside.
In addition to the displacement, waves of Arabization and Turkification started in the Kurdish city soon after its takeover by the rebel groups and Turkish forces, a process that has continued.
A European Union Foreign Affairs Committee report is anticipated to be voted on during the March plenary session
Once ISIS has been defeated in eastern Syria, the "liberation of Afrin" from Turkish and armed Syrian opposition control will become a priority, the Syrian Democratic Forces announced Sunday.
Afrin is a diverse area of Syria, home to Kurds, Yezidis, Arabs, Turkmen, Christians, and other components.
Last week, the Jabhat al-Sham militants vandalized the Yezidi shrine of Sheikh Hemid in the village of Qestela Cindi in the Shera sub-district of Afrin, local sourced confirmed to Rudaw.
The occupiers have also leveled
Kurdish graves, claiming they do not adhere to Islamic standards.
Yezidis in Iraq and Syria have been targeted since 2014 since the rise of the ISIS extremist group.