UN High Commissioner for Human Rights concerned about Kobane

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Civilians stranded at the Turkish border after escaping IS offensive against their hometown of Kobane. File photo

ARA News 

Geneva, Switzerland – The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Rupert Colville, issued a statement about the recent developments in the Syrian border city of Kobane, which suffers under the attacks of the Islamic State’s (IS/ISIL) militant fighters. 

“We are very alarmed by the situation in Kobane, in north-eastern Syria, which is currently being attacked by ISIL.  Up until 3 or 4 days ago, there were still some 10,000 civilians who had not yet crossed into Turkey, and although most have now done so, some may still remain,” Colville said.

On Tuesday, the High Commissioner condemned the recent attacks of IS extremists against Kurdish civilians in Kobane. 

Referring to the dramatic advance of the IS group in Kobane during the last few weeks, Colville said: “From 4 September onwards, ISIL is reported to have intensified what appears to have been indiscriminate shelling of various parts of the town, as they advanced to the outskirts.”

“On Monday 6 September, ISIL units reportedly broke through the trenches dug by the town’s mainly Kurdish defenders, and street-to-street fighting then took place in eastern neighbourhoods of the town. They also took control of a number of buildings and a strategic hill looking over the town from the south-east,” he added. 

Tens of thousands of civilians were forcibly displaced due to the growing violence in Kobane, and crossed into Turkey during the last few days.

“As a result of these developments, most of the approximately 10,000 civilians who had remained in the border area are believed to have crossed into Turkey on Sunday and Monday,” Colville said in a statement posted on the official website of the UN Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights. 

“The Kurdish groups in control of Kobane had reportedly ordered civilians to seek refuge in Turkey, and civilian administrators in Kobane were also said to have mostly left the town by yesterday evening.”

He emphasized the UN’s concerns about the destiny of the civilians who are still stranded in the war-torn area, amid IS-led shelling against the residential neighbourhoods of Kobane and the ongoing clashes between the militant fighters and the Kurdish forces of the Popular Protection Units (YPG).

“We remain hugely concerned for the safety of any civilians remaining in Kobane or in the border area near the town, as well as in surrounding villages. We believe the numbers are now , at most, in the hundreds  — maybe fewer. But clearly anyone who falls into the hands of ISIL is at risk. Given their atrocious record of repeated murders and summary executions of prisoners in both Syria and Iraq, we are also extremely concerned about the fate of any combatants captured by ISIL,” Colville concluded. 

 

Reporting by: Lorin Silo

Source: ARA News 

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