Middle East

Syria conflict: Kurdish authorities accused of abuses

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Kurdish fighters have battling for control of parts of northern Syria

Kurdish authorities ruling three enclaves in north Syria have committed rights abuses including arbitrary arrests and beatings, a report says.

The Democratic Union Party (PYD) also recruited children into its police and military wing, Human Rights Watch says.

The Kurds took control of parts of northern Syria when government forces withdrew in 2012.

The fighting between jihadist rebels and Kurdish militia has added another layer to Syria's civil war.

PYD forces are battling Islamist groups such as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS), whose fighters seized parts of Iraq last week.

'Halt the abuse'

Human Rights Watch, based in New York, said in a report that it had found evidence of abuses in the areas of Efrin, Ay El Arab and Jazira.

It said the PYD had failed to address unsolved killings and disappearances, while detainees had been beaten and opponents had been "convicted in apparently unfair trials".

"The Kurdish-run areas of Syria are quieter than war-torn parts of the country, but serious abuses are still taking place," said Nadim Houry, HRW deputy Middle East and North Africa director.

"The PYD is firmly in charge, and can halt the abuse."

The PYD has not yet responded to the allegations.

Syria's Kurdish minority made up about 10% of Syria's pre-war population of 23 million and is largely concentrated in the country's far north-east, near the borders with Turkey and Iraq.

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