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Humanitarian crisis looms in Rojava as mass displacement of Kurds expected

MASS displacement of civilians in northern Syria is creating a humanitarian crisis as jihadist forces were poised to cross the Turkish border with the “ceasefire” set to end tomorrow.

Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu warned that operations would restart within 35 hours “if Kurdish forces did not withdraw.”

“The safe zone will be controlled by the Turkish army. A period of 120 hours was allowed to withdraw YPG elements.”

But critics have warned that there is, in reality, no such thing as a Turkish-operated safe zone, calling it a jihadist-backed occupation and a prelude to the slaughter of Kurds.

Turkish forces and their jihadist allies had continued to break the ceasefire with artillery fire and drone attacks on the town of Serikaniye, hampering relief efforts by the Kurdish Red Crescent.

Anaesthetist and paramedic Sulieman Oso explained how their ambulance was besieged by Turkish-backed jihadists, hampering relief efforts.

“Civilians were besieged inside the town … with no water or food, burying their beloved dead inside their houses and they hadn’t been able to reach the hospital.

“Neither had we been able to reach them because of the proliferation of Turkish-backed faction snipers everywhere, shooting anything which might move.

“I’ve been told that three persons from one family went out of their house to get some food for the family … They got killed the moment they stepped out. Their bodies remained in the street.”

Evidence continued to mount of the use of white phosphorus on civilians with photographs circulating of victims being treated at a hospital for horrific burns consistent with a chemical attack.

Dr Abbas Mansouran explained he had treated between 15-20 people at Hassekeh hospital whose injuries suggested the use of chemical weapons.

He said: “The burn types I am seeing here are very different to those I would expect to have been caused by anything else than an incendiary chemical like white phosphorus.”

Hundreds of thousands have been forced to flee their homes due to the Turkish invasion. Many are taking shelter in schools and municipal buildings across northern Iraq.

“There is no water here, there are no toilets and the smell is unbearable,” said Samer, who fled his home and is now sheltering in a school in Hasakeh with his two children. 

“We are humiliated and displaced now,” he said, hoping for an end to the war.

A civilian in Dirbesiye, where Turkey has been continuing cross-border attacks said: “Because the ceasefire is ending tomorrow the people are leaving Dirbesiye. They are all going to Hasakah or Iraqi Kurdistan.”

He described a people in fear of what may happen when the ceasefire ends tomorrow.

Reports circulated of difficulties for refugees entering the Bardarash refugee camp across the border in Iraq. 18 buses were pictured trying to cross with reports they paid smugglers $200 to enter.

Sources in Iraq described the situation on the ground as “chaotic, sad and confused.”

“Turkey is scaring everyone,” he told the Star.

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