'Criminal assault on the civilians'

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Since Turkey's invasion of Northern Syria two weeks ago, Turkey is violating international law and committing war crimes.

Turkish jets, bought from the U.S., continue to bomb civilians (150 killed and 298 injured, according to the Health Council of the Canton of Afrin). Problematically, no attacks on Turkey have allowed President Erdogan of Turkey to justify this incursion by Article 51 of the UN Charter, nor did Turkey report its actions to the U.N. Security Council, also required by Article 51. Turkey may be a member of NATO, but who should we, in fact, be an ally of?

It is important to understand that the SDF (Syrian Democratic Forces), an essential ally of the U.S. in routing ISIS from Raqqa and elsewhere, are now defending Afrin and surrounding villages from the Turkish assaults. The YPG and YPJ (the Peoples' and the Women's Protection Units), are two Kurdish forces making up part of SDF and are not terrorist groups, as Turkey would have the world believe, but rather supporters of democratic values.

Furthermore, the region of Afrin is one of three Democratic Autonomous Regions of Rojava, a confederation of Kurds, Arabs, Syriacs, Aramaeans, Turkmen, Armenians, and Chechens. Rojavans believe in direct democracy, the inclusion of minorities, more leadership by women, and an ecologically sound economy. This democratic experiment is the real threat to Erdogan. Turkey's criminal assault on Afrin's civilians and its duplicity about its actions should be condemned. And we should support democratic experiments.

Mark Fuller

Janesville

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