Turkish Military Offensive in Syria
Recent events in Northern Syria are certainly disturbing. On October 6th, President Donald Trump ordered the withdrawal of the 1000 US troops that remained in Syria. On October 9th, Turkey’s President Recap Tayip Erdogan ordered Operation Peaceful Spring to commence as the bombing of Northern Syria began. Since 2011, Syrian Democratic Forces, a Kurdish-led militia that worked with the United States to fight the Islamic State, was the region’s overarching political force.
For many years, northeast Syria had been a place of refuge for people fleeing other battle-stricken parts of Syria. 650,000 living in the region have already been displaced at least one time in their lives. Since the fighting 300,000 people have been displaced, and more and more people are being displaced every day. Camps that had been established for displaced persons have been evacuated due to the violence. Medical facilities and the entire civilian infrastructure – powerlines, water supplies and bakeries have been under attack. The humanitarian situation is extremely dire as there are already shortages of both food and medicine.
The alleged cease-fire was merely a five-day period for the Kurds to relinquish their territory and, most recently, Turkey and Russia have announced a plan to divide control over this formerly Kurdish-held area comprising nearly 25% of Syria. The only clear point in this highly fluid situation is that the Syrian people remain the unfortunate victims of this latest interplay between international forces – all cynically seeking control of territory, oil fields and geopolitical, military and regional advantage over this beleaguered population.
MFA’s Director of Humanitarian Relief and Regional Relations, Shadi Martini, himself a Syrian refugee, has been in Turkey monitoring the situation on the ground in both Syria and northern Iraq. He is in touch with all of our NGO partners on the ground throughout the region.
MFA has begun an emergency campaign for Northern Syria so that we will help meet the humanitarian needs of this displaced population.