Humanitarian situation worsens in northern Syria amid Turkish operation against Kurdish forces • The Syrian Observatory For Human Rights

Humanitarian situation worsens in northern Syria amid Turkish operation against Kurdish forces

The Turkish military campaign against the Kurdish forces in northern Syria has so far displaced 75,000 civilians, as the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) urged all conflicting parties to preserve the safety of civilians.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights on Friday said that more than 75,000 civilians have been displaced since the Turkish military campaign against Kurdish forces in northern Syria began on Wednesday.

A total of 11 villages have also fallen in the hands of the Turkish forces and allied Syrian rebels, said the Britain-based watchdog group.

Meanwhile, the state news agency SANA said the Turkish intensive shelling targeted infrastructure in the countryside of Hasakah province in northeastern Syria as well as the northern countryside of the northern province of Raqqa.

It said water stations, electricity plants, dams, oil fields as well as residential areas were targeted during the shelling.

At least 13 civilians have been killed by the shelling, according to SANA.

On Thursday, the ICRC said the conflicting parties are obliged by law to spare civilians and non-combatants, including detainees and all those fleeing, from the fighting.

“All zones should be safe for civilians and anyone else not directly taking part in the fighting. That’s a basic tenet of international humanitarian law,” said Fabrizio Carboni, the ICRC’s director for the Near and Middle East.

The ICRC also said that civilian infrastructure must not be targeted during hostilities, adding that unimpeded passage of humanitarian relief, including medical services, must be granted.

The ICRC said that it’s now trying to assess and respond to new needs that have emerged now that thousands of people fleeing areas affected by hostilities in northeastern Syria.

On Wednesday, Turkey started the military campaign in northern Syria to eliminate the Kurdish forces of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and its umbrella of the People’s Protection Units (YPG), which are both deemed by Ankara as separatists and terrorists.

The Turkish operation also aims to create a safe zone in northern Syria and resettle millions of Syrian refugees.

It came after the withdrawal of the U.S. forces from northern Syria, which was seen as a sign of abandoning the Kurdish forces that used to be Washington’s allies in fighting the Islamic State in Syria.

The Syrian Foreign Ministry has issued two statements since the beginning of the Turkish operation, accusing the Turkish side of targeting residential areas and causing deaths among civilians.

Syria’s Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad blamed the Kurdish forces for what is going on in northern Syria, saying the Syrian government will not dialog with U.S.-backed Kurdish forces who “betrayed” their country by betting on the U.S. support instead of reconciling with the Syrian government.

“The arms of the Syrian government are open for all its citizens but there is no way for us to discuss with them (Kurdish forces) neither by a separatist logic nor by the concept that they are a strong force on the ground,” he said.

In a report on Friday, SANA reported that 50 U.S. soldiers were pulled out of Kurdish areas and sent to Iraq, a day after 100 U.S. troops withdrew from the Kurdish-held areas in northeastern Syria toward Iraq.

Source: Humanitarian situation worsens in northern Syria amid Turkish operation against Kurdish forces – Xinhua | English.news.cn

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