The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) said on Tuesday that its staff had viewed two separate pieces of video footage “showing what appears to be summary executions carried out by fighters belonging to the Ahrar al-Sharqiya armed group, which is affiliated with Turkey, on October 12.”
The OHCHR Spokesman Rupert Colville told reporters in the Swiss city of Geneva that the footage, which has been widely shared on social media, appeared “to show the fighters filming themselves capturing and executing three Kurdish captives” on the main highway, Press TV reported.
“Only one of the captives appeared to be wearing a military uniform,” he said adding that the office had also received reports of the execution of Hevrin Khalaf, the Secretary General of the Kurdish Future Movement in Syria, the same day “on the same highway.”
Colville further noted that the UN was working to verify the footage and confirm the details of the events, but stressed that under international law, “summary executions are serious violations, and may amount to a war crime.”
The top UN official warned that “Turkey could be deemed responsible as a state for violations committed by their affiliated armed groups, as long as Turkey exercises effective control over these groups or the operations in the course of which those violations occurred.”
Colville called on Ankara “to immediately launch an impartial, transparent and independent investigation into both incidents.”
Turkey, he said, must also “apprehend those responsible, some of whom should be easily identifiable from the video footage they themselves shared on social media.”
Militants from the Kurdish-dominated and so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said over the weekend that at least nine civilians were “executed” as part of Turkey's incursion into northeastern Syria.