Syria’s war of ethnic cleansing: Kurds threatened with beheading by Turkey’s allies if they don’t convert to extremism
The Wars in Syria: In the final part of his series from Syria, Patrick Cockburn reveals how all-out sieges like Eastern Ghouta and Afrin are bringing forced demographic change to the whole country
By Patrick Cockburn
Syrian Arab militiamen leading the Turkish attack on Afrin in northern Syria are threatening to massacre its Kurdish population unless they convert to the variant of Islam espoused by Isis and al-Qaeda. In the past such demands have preceded the mass killings of sectarian and ethnic minorities in both Syria and Iraq.
In one video a militia fighter flanked by others describes the Kurds as “infidels” and issues a stark warning, saying “by Allah, if you repent and come back to Allah, then know that you are our brothers. But if you refuse, then we see that your heads are ripe, and that it’s time for us to pluck them.” Though the Kurds in Afrin are Sunni Muslims, Isis and al-Qaeda traditionally punish those who fail to subscribe to their beliefs as heretics deserving death.