Turkey is using chemical weapons against Kurdish civilians, according to numerous reports, including the Kurdish Red Crescent, which sent a report directly to Clarion Project yesterday.
Horrific burns sustained from skin exposure to white phosphorous have been documented in adults and children alike in Syrian-Kurdish hospitals. The bombs containing the suspected substance were dropped in the border town of Ras al-Ayn.
The allegations were made before the U.S.-brokered ceasefire agreement, which appears to be a sham.
Numerous pictures showing gruesome wounds were on social media and in the media. Newsweek magazine quoted British chemical weapons expert Hamish de Bretton-Gordon, who told the outlet, “This very much looks like it was caused by white phosphorus. In 24 hours, I have been shown more photographs of these kinds of burn than at any recent stage in Syria’s war.
“White phosphorus is a horrific weapon, which can be delivered by aircraft or artillery. It reacts to the moisture in the skin in a way that intensifies its burning, so that water cannot put it out.”
The substance was also documented by Mustafa Bali, head of media relations for the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), the Kurdish-led, combined force opposing the Turks in Syria.
After 8 days of fierce resistance by our fighters against heavy ground and aerial attacks of Turkey in Serêkaniyê, we suspect that unconventional weapons are used against SDF fighters upon the reports and signs we receive from the besieged town. 1/2 pic.twitter.com/Epr1BsDFhC
— Mustafa Bali (@mustefabali) October 16, 2019
White phosphorus can be used (legally) for flares and smokescreens but is prohibited for use in civilian-populated areas by Protocol III of the Convention on the Prohibition of Use of Certain Conventional Weapons.
Since the reports surfaced, they have yet to be confirmed by U.N.’s Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which claims it is “aware of the situation in northern Syria and is collecting information at OPCW Headquarters.”
Newsweek noted that Turkey recently donated €30,000 to the OPCW for construction of a new facility for the organization, implying that this may be the reason the reason the OPCW is allegedly dragging its feet in the investigation.
For its part, Turkey has denied using the weapons, accusing instead the Kurds – who they considered terrorists – of staging the attack on themselves.
“We received information that terrorist organizations, after using chemical weapons on themselves, will throw the blame onto our armed forces and try to create perception,” Turkish Minister of National Defense Hulusi Akar said.
As reported in the New York Post, “While [Turkish president Tayyip Recep Erdogan] attempted to stylize his military invasion of Rojava [the Kurdish area in Syria on the Turkish border] as a counterterrorism operation, few international observers bought into it. Why? Because there have been no terror attacks against Turkey from Syrian territory since the Syrian Kurds established their self-governing entity in 2012. None.”