Channel 4 shamed other establishment outlets with its frank report on Turkey’s illegal invasion of Syria

Channel 4 screenshot and logo
Ed Sykes

While other establishment media outlets held back in their reporting of NATO member Turkey’s illegal invasion of northern Syria, Channel 4 put them to shame with a frank and honest analysis.

“It’s called ethnic cleansing”

Channel 4‘s international editor Lindsey Hilsum, reporting from the largely-Kurdish region of northern Syria (aka Rojava), asked: “what are the Turks trying to do?”. And her answer was blunt:

It’s called ethnic cleansing.

 

The UN reports that around 70,000 people have fled so far from the Turkish-led invaders.

‘Cleansing’ Rojava of the people who defeated Daesh

Turkey has a large Kurdish population itself, and is currently at war with Kurdish communities both at home and abroad because of their demands for self-determination. According to the Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal, it has committed numerous war crimes in the process.

NATO’s second-largest army has long been attacking Rojava. In 2018, for example, Turkish-led forces invaded and occupied the Rojavan region of Afrin. These allegedly committed “widespread human rights violations”, “ethnic cleansing” and war crimes; and they included fascists and extremist groups similar to al-Qaeda in their ranks. There is also longstanding evidence of Turkish collaboration with Daesh (Isis/Isil).

Rojava, meanwhile, has led a green democratic revolution in the middle of Syria’s brutal war. Its system is feminist, socialist, and opposes all religious and ethnic discrimination. And both militarily and ideologically, it played a key role in defeating Daesh in Syria, gaining limited support from the West in the process. Over 11,000 of its fighters died in this war.

A war criminal NATO member is illegally invading Syria. Where’s the outrage?

Turkey’s invasion has reportedly killed at least 12 civilians so far. And while some countries have responded with action (Norway has pledged not to “handle any new demands” for arms sales to Turkey), most haven’t. The US, for example, which piggybacked onto Rojava’s fight against Daesh in late 2014 and has since tried to take credit for it, didn’t just leave the anti-terror fighters at Turkey’s mercy; it convinced them to lower their guard before then colluding with its NATO ally’s assault. As CNN reported:

The US also gave Turkey access to airspace and intelligence on the area… . The US said it was working days before Turkey launched the offensive.

On 11 October, NATO’s secretary general simply called on “great power” Turkey to “act with restraint”. Syria’s Assad regime, meanwhile, refused to support people in Rojava, essentially calling them traitors. And political games at the UN Security Council resulted in a total failure to oppose Turkey’s invasion:

Finally, as Channel 4 spoke frankly about Turkey’s criminal invasion, some other mainstream media outlets decided to shift focus onto how Turkish towns were dealing with retaliation to their government’s attacks.

Rise up for Rojava

Turkish-led far-right forces are currently trying to destroy the brightest light of left-wing resistance in the Middle East. And that should be utterly unacceptable to progressives everywhere.

If our governments won’t speak up and act, we must.

Featured image via Channel 4 News/YouTube

Get involved

We need your help ...

The coronavirus pandemic is changing our world, fast. And we will do all we can to keep bringing you news and analysis throughout. But we are worried about maintaining enough income to pay our staff and minimal overheads.

Now, more than ever, we need a vibrant, independent media that holds the government to account and calls it out when it puts vested economic interests above human lives. We need a media that shows solidarity with the people most affected by the crisis – and one that can help to build a world based on collaboration and compassion.

We have been fighting against an establishment that is trying to shut us down. And like most independent media, we don’t have the deep pockets of investors to call on to bail us out.

Can you help by chipping in a few pounds each month?

The Canary Support us