more than 60,000 displaced by Turkish offensive, UN meeting expected

On the Turkish-Syrian border, Thursday, October 10.
On the Turkish-Syrian border, Thursday, October 10. BULENT KILIC / AFP

Kurdish forces in Syria are fighting, Thursday, October 10, to contain an assault on Turkey, after the launch of the Ankara offensive in the north-east of the country at war, raising fears of a new humanitarian crisis. Turkey's offensive provoked an international outcry and an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council is scheduled for Thursday.

While Westerners fear a resurgence of the Islamic State (IS) group, whose defeat in Syria is largely due to Kurdish forces, French President Emmanuel Macron called on Turkey to "Put an end as soon as possible" to his offensive.

One of the expected consequences of Turkey's offensive has been the flight of more than 60,000 civilians, who have fled on the exodus routes, fleeing areas directly on the border, the Syrian Observatory for Rights reported. of man (OSDH). These displaced people are fleeing "The sectors at the border, especially the areas of Ras Al-Ain and Derbassiyé"said the Observatory, explaining that these civilians were moving towards territories further east, including the city of Hassake.

Perched on pickup trucks, carrying with them refrigerators, gas bottles, mattresses and stuffed jute bags, women and children arrived in the city of Tall Tamr, further south and spared from the fighting, found a correspondent of Agence France-Presse (AFP) on the spot. The NGO Save The Children warned against "An impending humanitarian disaster". "With the coming winter, they will face additional challenges"she warns.

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Civilians killed

After hours of bombing, the Turkish army and its Syrian counterparts penetrated, on Wednesday, into northeastern Syria into the territories controlled by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) – a coalition of Kurdish-dominated fighters, which, allied to Americans in the region since 2015, have paid a heavy price to the fight against the Islamic State (IS) organization.

" Turkish Armed Forces and the Syrian National Army (the new name of the Syrian rebels backed by Ankara) started the operation "Source of peace" in northern Syria. " It is through this message, written in Turkish, English and Arabic, on the Twitter account of the Turkish President, that the new front has opened in this region, which until now has been rather stable thanks to the joint efforts of the SDS and their Western allies – American, French and British.

As early as Wednesday afternoon, Turkish aviation and artillery targeted several border localities in northern Syria – Tall Abyad, Ras al-Ain, Kamechliyah, Ayn Issa and Kobane. Since Wednesday, at least 23 Kurdish fighters and 9 civilians have been killed by air strikes and artillery fire by the Turkish army, according to the OSDH. Humanitarian teams said they were evacuating northeastern Syria.

At least four civilians, including a baby, were killed and 46 wounded Thursday by shots fired at Turkish border towns by a Syrian Kurdish militia that is being attacked in Ankara, according to local authorities.

International Tollé

Turkey's offensive provoked an international outcry, with several countries fearing a resurgence of the jihadist Islamic State (IS) organization. An emergency meeting of the Security Council of the United Nations Organization (UN) is scheduled for Thursday.

French President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday called Turkey "To put an end as soon as possible" to his offensive that "Risk of helping Daesh (Arabic acronym of Islamic State) to rebuild its caliphate". "She must stop"also hammered French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian.

The Arab League convened an emergency meeting on Saturday to discuss Turkey's offensive against Kurdish forces in Syria, the pan-Arab organization said late Wednesday.

For its part, Tehran, a powerful ally of the power of Bashar al-Assad, called for a "Immediate cessation" of the operation. Russia, the main supporter of Damascus, stressed the "Need to establish a dialogue" between Ankara and the Syrian regime. Damascus, who denounced the "Expansionary ambitions" from Turkey, has a negative view of the de facto autonomy established by the Kurdish minority, which it has declared ready to welcome into its fold.

Syrian Kurds have been at the forefront of the fight against the jihadist organization with air support from the international anti-IS coalition. In March 2019, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a majority Kurdish coalition, seized the last Syrian stronghold of ISIS in Baghouz. But the jihadist group remains active in hiding.

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