Humanitarian aid groups fleeing Syria only compounds crisis: Kurdish official

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Turkey’s offensive in northern Syria has forced at least 15 international aid organizations to withdraw their staff, compounding the humanitarian emergency, according to a Kurdish administration official.

“The humanitarian plight of the displaced in areas targeted by the aggression has worsened with all humanitarian aid being cut and all international organisations ceasing their activities,” the Kurdish administration said earlier on Tuesday in a statement posted on Facebook.

Speaking at a press conference, Khalid Ibrahim, the Kurdish administration’s head of humanitarian affairs, said the withdrawal of aid organizations has left “displaced people to suffer”.

“At least 15 organizations have left northern Syria due to the Turkish offensive,” Ibrahim said. “This has resulted in creation of a humanitarian crisis, as displaced people are in need of food, water, and daily requirements.”

Local schools in Hasaka province are now hosting families displaced from the border towns of Tal Abyad, Ras al-Ain and surrounding villages as camps reach full capacity.

One Kurdish woman sheltering in a school in Hasaka told Rudaw they are desperate.

“What does Erdogan want from us? Where shall we go? We cannot be displaced every day,” she said.

An Arab resident of Sare Kani told Rudaw: “The only thing we need is to return to our homes. We do not want anything else.”

More than 300,000 people have been displaced since the start of the Turkish incursion – 70,000 of them children, according to Ibrahim. UN OCHA puts the figure at 160,000.

Hasaka, where the majority of the displaced have fled to, is 80 kilometers (50 miles) south of the border-city of Qamishli.

“Displaced children are in need of milk, food, and clean water,” said Ibrahim. “Therefore we ask the international community to help us.”
"Everything that has ever happened to us is there to make us stronger."
-John Trudell