The leader of Kurdish forces in Syria told NBC News on Saturday that Turkey’s offensive in the northern region is “the biggest ethnic cleansing operation in the 21st century,” according to Newsweek.
General Mazlum Kobane, who heads the Syrian Democratic Forces, said in an interview: "This agreement will kill millions of Kurds and the expulsion from their land of millions of Kurds. It will be the biggest ethnic cleansing operation of the 21st century and its happening right in front of the American army's eyes."
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan began his offensive in northern Syria following President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops from the region, ostensibly to create a “safe zone” buffer in the area between the two countries.
But the Kurds believe Erdogan’s motives are more sinister, and events logged by Amnesty International — including alleged attacks targeting civilians and extrajudicial killings — appear to validate Kurdish concerns.
"Amnesty evidence shows how Turkish forces have displayed a shameful disregard for civilian life, including through summary killings and unlawful attacks that have killed and injured civilians," the human rights organization said last week.
Kobane has cast blame in America’s direction, telling NBC News, "America has full responsibility for what is happening now because we trusted them for five years in the continuing war against Isis. But now, there is ethnic cleansing. If they wanted, they would stop it."