Syrian Arab and Kurdish civilians flee with their belongings amid Turkish bombardment on Syria's northeastern town of Ras al-Ain on October 9, 2019. (Delil SOULEIMAN / AFP)
CAIRO – 13 October 2019: The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said on Sunday that aggression by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Syria has displaced over 130,000 residents around the northeast Syrian border towns of Tel Abyad and Ras al Ain in a few days.
U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew military personnel from embedded positions with the Kurdish-majority Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) near the border with Turkey, setting the stage for Ankara’s invasion last Wednesday.
At a rally on Saturday, Trump said the U.S. cannot fight "endless wars" and announced the it has sent $50m in emergency aid for Syria to support Christians and other religious minorities there.
According to political and security experts, this step by Turkey would only benefit the schemes and interests of the Turkish regime and the terrorist Islamic State (ISIS) organization.
The U.S. military has provided training, weaponry and assistance to the Kurdish forces to fight the ISIS until its latest enclave was finally brought down, however, with the Turkish invasion, Kurdish fighters have ceased operations against remnants of the terrorist organization.
OCHA and other relief agencies estimated that up to 400,000 civilians in the Syrian conflict zone might require aid and protection in the coming period.
Turkish forces targeted areas around two Syrian border towns with fresh shelling on Sunday, pressing on with their offensive against Kurdish militia for a fifth day in the face of fierce international opposition.
More and more displaced people were arriving at centers, and more than 400,000 were affected by a loss of running water supplies including 82,000 residents of two refugee camps in the region, OCHA said.
Turkey said it plans to continue the offensive for a further nine days, despite that Turkish media already reported that at least 20 civilians have been killed in cross-border bombardment, not to mention tens others in the country.
OCHA also said that a trauma stabilization south of Ras al Ain, set up to treat wounded from the conflict’s front lines, was reported to have come under attack. There was no immediate confirmation of the report.
Hospitals in the most impacted areas have been forced to close and those that remain open are becoming overwhelmed.
According to reports and observers, the humanitarian situation has escalated dramatically since Turkey launched the offensive, but the International Rescue Committee warned it could get "direr" as Turkey advances further into the region.