THE WORLD

Turkey denies allegations that it committed abuses in Syria

Turkey has rejected claims by Human Rights Watch (HRW) that the state is responsible for some of the abuses and possible war crimes committed against the mainly Kurdish population in northern Syria.

HRW said in a 74-page report released Thursday that the alleged abuses were committed by Turkish forces, and also by Ankara-backed armed factions, in areas they control in northern Syria, the AP reported.

A senior Turkish Foreign Ministry official denied the allegations on Friday, insisting the New York-based watchdog's report "did not reflect realities on the ground and ignored Turkey's security concerns".

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity in line with government protocol, also insisted that Turkey fully respects "international humanitarian law".

Since 2016, Turkey has launched three major operations inside Syria, targeting Syria's main Kurdish militia - the People's Protection Units, or YPG, a US-backed faction that Turkey considers a terrorist organization and an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party or PKK.

The PKK has waged a decades-long insurgency inside Turkey. Tens of thousands of people have been killed in the conflict.

The HRW report, titled "Everything is at gunpoint: Abuses and impunity in Turkish-occupied northern Syria" - documents allegations of abductions, arbitrary arrests, illegal detentions, sexual violence and torture.

The human rights group said it also found that the Turkish military and intelligence agencies were involved in carrying out and overseeing the abuses.