Video Shows U.S. Allies in Syria Torturing Prisoners

ISTANBUL—We don’t know what the soldier with the knife did after the digicam was stopped.

The video was horrid sufficient. It reveals troopers within the uniforms of the U.S.-allied Folks’s Safety Models (YPG) kicking and stomping on two young Arabs captured close to Raqqa. One of many detainees is mendacity susceptible underneath a metallic chair, which a YPG soldier sits on, its leg braces grinding into the captive’s again.

“Inform me the place are the Daesh fighters. Inform me,” says one soldier, utilizing the pejorative Arabic acronym for the Islamic State.

“I swear I don’t know,” responds the captive. “In the event you kill me I can’t let you know as a result of I don’t know.”

The 2 detainees are wearing a standard galabeyas—the robes utilized by the individuals of the world—not the shalwar kameez free shirts and trousers typically worn by ISIS militants.  

A second soldier is seen stomping on the again of the second captive.

The 2 troopers, each carrying grenades, knives, and sub-machineguns, communicate Arabic with a Bedouin accent, indicating they had been both conscripts or volunteers who joined the Kurdish-led YPG.

The video raises many questions, however there’s little question about its authenticity. Kurdish authorities in northern Syria have acknowledged the incident occurred, and the U.S.-led worldwide coalition mentioned it’s investigating.

In keeping with Turkish information media that first printed the video, it was taken on the finish of Might within the Mansura district, west of Raqqa.

One of many questions is how the 2 captives got here into the arms of YPG fighters within the first place. The U.S.-led Raqqa operation is being carried out by the Syrian Democratic Forces, a hybrid Kurdish-Arab drive led by Kurdish officers and created on the behest of the U.S. army in late 2015. One purpose for creating it was to determine some separation between SDF and YPG, which is the Syrian affiliate of the Kurdistan Employees’ Occasion, listed as a terror group by the U.S., EU, and Turkey.

If the video is any indication, the SDF in actual fact works hand-in-hand with the YPG. It’s attainable that the SDF captured the boys and turned them over to the YPG, however the YPG might have been working by itself. The U.S. army has refused to embed reporters with its forces on the bottom throughout the Raqqa operation, so little is understood in regards to the position of the YPG.

Actually little is understood about any facet of the operation, for the U.S. army has refused to touch upon allegations of civilian casualties and injury to civilian property, mosques, bakeries, and markets. The SDF seems to have expelled ISIS from many neighborhoods of Raqqa, however the battle is way from over.

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In southern Syria, in the meantime, combating died down briefly on Sunday, the primary day of a cease-fire that President Donald Trump and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, introduced with fanfare after talks in Hamburg. However the Syrian authorities shelled a number of cities Monday, indicating that the truce was transitory at finest.

The torture video emerged June 30 and was posted by the semi-official Turkish Anadolu Information Company. Nonetheless images from the video had been published by A Haber, a Turkish information outlet.

The veracity of the video was acknowledged by the “Self-Safety” physique of the executive space the place the incident passed off, the Jazira canton, simply days after it had surfaced, in accordance with the ARA information company, which stories on the YPG managed components of northern Syria and calls itself an unbiased information company.

Denouncing the act “within the strongest phrases” the self-protection physique mentioned the scene depicted within the video was “completely unacceptable and contradicts our moral and humanitarian frameworks and our values.”

“Since they’ve damaged legal guidelines and worldwide norms, they are going to be held accountable for his or her irresponsible, particular person acts,” ARA reported the protection company saying.

ARA omitted the “Self-Safety” physique’s reference to torture of “one of many ISIS mercenaries after arresting him.” It’s not clear how the committee reached the judgment that each captives had been “ISIS mercenaries” and just one was tortured.

Omar Alloush, the spokesman for the Democratic Union Occasion or PYD, the civilian wing of the YPG which guidelines the Kurdish cantons, mentioned violations of worldwide norms “might occur out of revenge” however they’re nonetheless particular person acts, and “the perpetrators will probably be held accountable if they’re identified. He additionally invited “any committee or goal worldwide group” to return and open an investigation.

Previously, the YPG has rejected the outcomes of outdoor investigation that present the group has violated the legal guidelines of armed battle, together with a significant analysis by Amnesty Worldwide in late 2015, which documented the YPG’s mass expulsions of Arabs.

The U.S.-led worldwide coalition that’s conducting the marketing campaign towards ISIS in Raqqa, and has offered arms, advisers, and air assist for the SDF, mentioned it had forwarded “these allegations” to Coalition components on the bottom and to the Employees Choose Advocate, the army’s authorized department, which investigates warfare crimes.

“The Coalition doesn’t condone any violation of the legal guidelines of armed battle and works onerous in coaching to make sure partnered forces are conscious of and perceive the necessities of knowledgeable combating drive to abide with these legal guidelines,” spokesman Col. Ryan Dillon informed The Every day Beast in an e-mail.

The query is how excessive up the investigation will go. Not one of the Kurdish statements indicated any plan to analyze the Kurdish chain of command which had permitted—probably even approved—the torture to happen.

There’s additionally a query in regards to the video itself, which seems to have been shot with the settlement of the 2 YPG troopers.

Within the ultimate frames of the video, the second soldier, who’s farther from the digicam, might be seen signaling that the digicam needs to be switched off.

However because the digicam is shut down, the primary soldier is poised, knife in his proper hand. Nobody has mentioned what occurred subsequent.

—with extra reporting by Duygu Guvenc in Ankara

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