Tuesday, June 15, 2021
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Syria: Manbij Military Council’s Decision To Stop Forced Conscription Is Not Enough – Civilians Must Be Protected

Geneva – Manbij Military Council’s decision to stop
the forced conscription campaign in Manbij and its
countryside in northern Syria and refer the matter for
further discussion and study is not enough,
Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor said in a statement.
What must be further studied are the true causes of tension
and enabling the population to choose their representatives
who express their identity and meet their

The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) had
dealt violently with protests in the city of Manbij in
northern Syria, leaving dozens of peaceful protesters killed
and wounded.

Thousands of demonstrators gathered
Tuesday in the city center’s public square, at the Great
Mosque and at the Al-Khataf checkpoint east of the city, to

The demonstrators’ demands were: ending the
compulsory conscription law, increasing the city’s fuel
quota (since it has been witnessing a stifling fuel crisis),
passing a law to combat corruption, and ending the rule of
the Kurdish minority over the inhabitants of Arab

Eight demonstrators were killed, and more than
30 others were injured, most of whom fell near the Al-Khataf
checkpoint after the SDF suppressed the protests by using
live bullets and other violent means of

The Manbij Military Council issued several
decisions on Wednesday evening, including stopping forced
recruitment, releasing detainees, investigating the shooting
of demonstrators, and holding those responsible
However, an independent investigation must
be opened into the events with an effective accountability
system that prevents the perpetrators from escaping

“We gathered at the Al-Khataf
checkpoint, and we started chanting against the forced
recruitment and the discriminatory policies of the SDF,”
said M.L., an eyewitness and one of the participants in the

“When our numbers increased, the SDF
brought in military reinforcements comprising of
four-wheel-drive vehicles loaded with dozens of armed men
with Kalashnikovs. They started firing live bullets at the
unarmed protesters, killing and wounding

Euro-Med Monitor’s team viewed a video
published by activists in Manbij showing the bodies of
several of the dead, in addition to demonstrators suffering
from severe injuries from live bullets and taken to city
hospitals after being shot by SDF.

After firing live
bullets at the demonstrators, protesters stormed the
Al-Khataf checkpoint and took control of it, while the SDF
members withdrew from the checkpoint to nearby military

The Civil Administration in the city had issued
a curfew, starting at 1:00 p.m. on June 1, for 48 hours,
after massive protests took place in the

However, the demonstrators refused to comply
with the curfew, as merchants closed their shops and
participated in the demonstrations. In addition, the
demonstrators blocked the international highway “M4”
located between the governorates of Hasaka and Aleppo by
burning tires on the street.

The SDF has been trying
since May 28 to forcibly recruit boys and girls born between
1990 -2003 in several cities, such as Raqqa, Deir ez-Zor,
al-Hasakah, Qamishli, Ain al-Arab, al-Malikiyah and
al-Darbasiyah, under its slogan “the duty of self-defense”.
The SDF pursued young men in their homes and arrested anyone
who refused to comply with these decisions.

violent handling of the ongoing demonstrations will push the
city towards more violence, especially since the arbitrary
decisions have created great tension among Arab civilians
who reject the rule of the Kurdish minority.

must open an independent and transparent investigation into
the killing of demonstrators, stop using excessive force to
suppress protests, and guarantee individuals the right to
peaceful assembly and expression.

The international
coalition forces must review their supportive stance with
the SDF to ensure their commitment to applying human rights
standards and principles in the areas they control. Any
future aid must link to their commitment to respecting the
civil, political, and social rights of the

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