UN: Turkey assault has displaced 130,000 and number could triple
search

UN: Turkey assault has displaced 130,000 and number could triple

Humanitarian agency says it’s preparing for scenario in which up to 400,000 flee Kurdish areas

An elderly man is evacuated from a building in Akcakale, a town near the Turkish border with Syria, on October 13, 2019, after it was hit by a rocket reported to be fired from within Syria. (Photo by BULENT KILIC / AFP)
An elderly man is evacuated from a building in Akcakale, a town near the Turkish border with Syria, on October 13, 2019, after it was hit by a rocket reported to be fired from within Syria. (Photo by BULENT KILIC / AFP)

GENEVA, Switzerland — Turkey’s deadly assault on Kurdish positions in northeastern Syria has forced 130,000 people to flee their homes, the UN said Sunday, adding it was preparing for that figure to more than triple.

“We have moved into a planning scenario where up to 400,000 people could be displaced within and across the affected areas,” Jens Laerke, a spokesman for the UN humanitarian agency OCHA told AFP in an email, adding that these people would be “in need of assistance and protection.”

The UN had said Friday that some 100,000 people had been forced to flee their homes since the beginning of Turkey’s military incursion on Wednesday, after US President Donald Trump ordered American troops to pull back from the border.

But by Sunday it warned of further displacements from rural areas around Tell Abiad and Ras al-Ain with latest estimates “surpassing 130,000 people.”

Protestors attend a demonstration against the Turkish military operation in northern Syria October 12, 2019 in New York City. (Johannes EISELE / AFP)

“Exact numbers cannot yet be ascertained,” the agency said in a updated assessment document.

Most of the displaced had reached relatives or host communities, but growing numbers were arriving at collective shelters, including in schools.

The UN warned of the impact of any further escalation of Turkey’s offensive or of sudden shifts in control over territory.

“Concerns remain grave around the risks facing thousands of vulnerable displaced persons, including women and children in various (displacement) camps,” it said, pointing to Al-Hol, a camp holding relatives of Islamic State suspects that lies outside the area targeted by Turkey.

The UN said that there were many other humanitarian consequences to the military assault, which is being conducted on multiple fronts along the border.

It also voiced concern for the safety of the staff of the 113 UN and other international aid organizations operating in the area, and had cut international staff numbers to 200 from normal levels of 384.

Join us!
A message from the Editor of Times of Israel
David Horovitz

For as little as $6 a month, you can help support our independent journalism — and enjoy special benefits and status as a Times of Israel Community member!

The Times of Israel covers one of the most complicated, and contentious, parts of the world. Determined to keep readers fully informed and enable them to form and flesh out their own opinions, The Times of Israel has gradually established itself as the leading source of independent and fair-minded journalism on Israel, the region and the Jewish world.

We've achieved this by investing ever-greater resources in our journalism while keeping all of the content on our site free.

Unlike many other news sites, we have not put up a paywall. But we would like to invite readers who can afford to do so, and for whom The Times of Israel has become important, to help support our journalism by joining The Times of Israel Community. Join now and for as little as $6 a month you can both help ensure our ongoing investment in quality journalism, and enjoy special status and benefits as a Times of Israel Community member.

Join our community
read more:
comments