Syrian Democratic Forces call on opposition groups to protect civilians

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Displaced civilians in the northern countryside of Syria's Aleppo. Photo: ARA News

ARA News 

Qamishli – The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) on Thursday called on the armed opposition to protect civilians amidst the ongoing conflict in Syria. In addition, the SDF asked all parties to follow its lead and embrace a broader set of humanitarian principles.

“[We] are calling on all armed opposition forces to abide by a set of basic principles for the protection of civilians,” the SDF said in a statement. The statement placed special emphasis on those civilians most at risk – the elderly, children, women and the infirm.

The SDF enforces to a Geneva-sponsored document, which enumerates ten basic humanitarian principles restricting the conduct of combatants. The Geneva Agreement requires that humanitarian access is granted to aid organizations, regardless of the recipient’s race, religion or political affiliation.

The Geneva Agreement also requires combatants to protect schools, hospitals, places of worship, cultural heritage buildings, and civilian structures. Likewise, the accord bans sexual violence and the recruitment of children under eighteen.

In addition, the SDF enforces its own basic principles, which forbid the use of chemical weapons and indiscriminate weapons, like anti-personnel mines. The SDF has also outlawed field executions and torture, requiring that all prisoners receive “all their rights according to international law.”

The SDF would like to see all of these principles adopted as widely as possible. “We call on the other parties involved in the armed conflict to abide by these principles and to immediately implement these rules on the ground,” the Kurdish-Arab alliance said.

The Syrian Democratic Forces concluded their statement, saying: “We renew once again our full commitment to these principles, to alleviate the effects of the devastating war imposed on us by terrorists and the enemies of humanity.”

Reporting by: Wladimir van Wilgenburg | Source: ARA News 

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