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  • Smoke rises above the Syrian border town of Tel Abyad, as seen from Akcakale, Turkey, October 13, 2019.

    Smoke rises above the Syrian border town of Tel Abyad, as seen from Akcakale, Turkey, October 13, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 13 October 2019

The Turkish assault has raised international alarm over its mass displacement of civilians and the risk it could trigger a revival of an Islamic State insurgency in Syria. 

Around 750 people with suspected links to the Islamic State Group have reportedly fled a displacement camp in north-east Syria as a result of Turkish strikes against Kurdish forces.

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The news came after the United States asked all of its 1,000 troops to withdraw “as safely and quickly as possible” from Syria when they realized that Turkey’s offensive will extend further than the proposed 30 km “safe zone.”

It is feared that the Turkish strikes would strengthen the weakened IS group. In one of the camps where  249 women and 700 children of the group were held started rioting after a shelling struck close to their area Sunday. The rioting scared the guards away and people escaped from the camp according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. The camp was home to around 12,000 people including 1,000 wives and children of IS Group members. 

The Turkish assault has raised international alarm over its mass displacement of civilians and the risk it could trigger a revival of an Islamic State insurgency in Syria, with a heightened possibility of IS militants escaping Kurdish prisons.

The Kurdish-led administration in Syria’s northeast said nearly 200,000 people had been uprooted so far by the fighting, while the U.N. World Food Programme put the figure at more than 100,000 in the towns of Tel Abyad and Ras al-Ain.

The U.N. said the assaults already forced 130,000 people to flee their homes and warned that around 400,000 people could be displaced shortly. 

Turkey’s stated broader objective is to set up a “safe zone” inside Syria to resettle many of the 3.6 million Syrian war refugees it has been hosting. Erdogan has threatened to send them to Europe if the EU did not back his assault.

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