Amid ongoing fighting in northeast Syria, hundreds cross Iraqi border in search of safety

© UNHCR/Rasheed Hussein Rasheed A refugee family from Syria in Bardarash refugee camp in Iraq.

This article is brought to you in association with the United Nations.


Shelling and clashes in northern Syria on the border with Turkey continue to cause hundreds of people to flee, the UN said on Friday, despite a cessation of hostilities deal between Turkish forces and Syrian-backed Kurdish military.

Hailed as a ceasefire by some governments and a five-day pause in hostilities by others on Thursday, the agreement comes nine days into a military campaign launched by Turkey against Kurdish-held territory on its southern border, east of the Euphrates river.

“Despite the announcement of the ceasefire…shelling and intermittent clashes continue to be reported around Ras-al-Ain as of this morning, although the situation is reportedly calm elsewhere”, said Jens Laerke from the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

Humanitarians still working ‘where access allows’

Updating journalists in Geneva, several UN agencies confirmed that they were continuing to deliver aid and provide basic services in the conflict zone “where access allows”.

Highlighting critical needs, the World Health Organization (WHO) appealed for the humanitarian response to be scaled-up urgently.

Spokesperson Tarik Jasarevic noted that 40 tonnes of medical supplies had been airlifted from Damascus to Qamishli earlier this week, while Ras al Ain and Tal Abyad hospitals remain closed.

This has made Tal Tamr Hospital “the main reception point for wounded persons coming from conflict at Ras al Ain”, he explained, adding that it has “struggled to cope with the influx of patients” and patients who have since been sent to Al Hasakeh and Qamishli.

The WHO supplies – which include more than 100,000 treatments and 620 trauma kits – will be distributed to facilities in Al-Hasakeh, rural Raqqa and rural Deir-ez-Zor.

Meanwhile, the World Food Programme (WFP) announced on Friday that it plans reach 580,000 people in affected areas this month.

Since 9 October, the UN agency has provided assistance to 170,000 people, spokesperson Herve Verhoosel said. “There are more than 165,000 people on the move in the north-east, and they seek shelter in Al-Hasakeh and in Raqqa,” he added. “Many people in those cities choose to stay with family and friends rather than in collective shelters, so that figure in fact can even be higher.”

‘Deconfliction’ call from UNICEF to allow repairs to water supply

Lack of drinking water to 400,000 people is still a serious concern in Al-Hasakeh, UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said, noting that the Alouk water pumping station there is still not working owing to damage to power lines.

“Deconfliction is needed to allow UNICEF to supply 16,000 litres of fuel on a daily basis in order to run the back-up generators,” insisted spokesperson Marixie Mercado.

Asked to comment on Turkey’s reported wish to send home some of the nearly four million Syrian refugees who have been sheltering in the country for years, to live in a so-called “safe zone”, Andrej Mahecic from the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) replied that it had not seen any proposals “from any party”.

Syrians must only be returned from Turkey if they want to go: UNHCR

Reiterating the agency’s stance on the return of refugees, he insisted that any return of refugees to Syria or any other place in the world “has to be voluntary, it has to be dignified and it has to be safe at the time when it is safe to return”.

Mr. Mahecic confirmed that for the fifth consecutive day, hundreds of people continue to arrive in Iraq after fleeing north-east Syria, mostly women, children and the elderly.

“Another 734 refugees have entered Iraq last night. That is in addition to the 1,600 that we have moved to Bardarash camp over the past four days,” the UNHCR official said, adding that they reported fleeing shelling and fighting on their way to the border.

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Trade Barriers Report: EU continues to open up markets outside Europe in midst of rising protectionism

EU recovery and long-term budget: Leaders must do better

Economy and living standards of Gaza ‘eviscerated’ by crippling blockade – UN trade and development report

168 hours left for MEPs – ECOFIN Council to deliver a Banking Union

WEF Davos 2016 LIVE: “We need more Schengen but reinforce control!”, France’s Minister of Economy Emmanuel Macron emphasises from Davos

DR Congo: Restore internet services as ‘a matter of urgency’, urges UN expert

Parmesan cheese on shelves in Italy (Copyright: European Union, 2014 / Source: EC - Audiovisual Service / Photo: Daniela Giusti)

CETA at risk again: Italy says it won’t ratify EU-Canada trade deal over product protection fears

If Macron defies Britain about the banks, Paris and London to clash over ‘La Manche’

How to get ageing populations to invest in their health

In post-COVID Latin America, investment in infrastructure can bring back tourism – and rebuild the economy

This Canadian company transforms plastic waste into building materials

Eurozone closer to a deflation – stagnation trap

UN chief calls for ‘far greater support’ for Cyclone Idai response

EU budget 2021-2027: Commission calls on leaders to set out a roadmap towards an autumn agreement

Reinforcing EU border security: Visa-exempt travelers will be pre-screened

UN chief calls for ‘green and clean’ development in message for Africa Industrialization Day

Court of Auditors: MEPs back five members

Switzerland fast-tracks emergency aid for small businesses weathering COVID-19

Brexit kick-off: a historic day for the EU anticlockwise

Blockchain can change the face of renewable energy in Africa. Here’s how

Attack on Saudi facilities risks dragging Yemen into ‘regional conflagration’: UN Envoy

The EU to fight cross-border tax evasion with a toothless directive

On International Youth Day the European Youth Forum calls for true youth participation

China in my eyes

We are stronger than this pandemic (COVID-19)

Will satellites destroy our view of space?

US resolution to condemn activities of Hamas voted down in General Assembly

Final turnout data for 2019 European elections announced

Can the EU assume the mantle of global leadership?

Global Compact on Refugees: How is this different from the migrants’ pact and how will it help?

Is Germany closer to Russia than the West? Nord Stream II and Iran count more

8th Euronest Assembly: the future of relations with Eastern partners

5 ways for business leaders to win in the 2020s

Trade in digital services is booming. Here’s how we can unleash its full potential

Businesses, governments and consumers to implement a more climate-friendly approach to #BeatPlasticPollution on World Environment Day 2018

Working Muslim women are a trillion-dollar market

Sweden is fighting loneliness by housing older and younger generations together

‘World’s deadliest sea crossing’ claimed six lives a day in 2018: UN refugee agency

In wake of ‘collapsed’ agreement, new wave of violence threatens millions in Syria’s Idlib

The ‘abuse of food relief in Yemen’ must end now

Eurozone economy desperately needs internally driven growth

Listen to the future – how 26 youth-led organizations are supercharging the UN’s Global Goals

Yemen: Committee brings warring parties to the table in Hudaydah, builds on ceasefire

Healthcare workers’ safety: a forgotten necessity

5 things you might not know about forests – but should

2021-2027 EU Budget: €378,1 billion to benefit all regions

Key economic forum in Russia: New technology a ‘vector of hope’ but also ‘a source of fear’ says Guterres

Ireland: prepare now for rising fiscal pressures, external risks

Bilbao’s city parks offer brain-training games for the elderly

Primary Healthcare: Back to the Basics

In Mozambique, it’s ‘a matter of the heart’ says Guterres, lauding the cyclone-struck nation’s ‘undeniable moral authority’

Egypt: The road to hell paved with western advices for democracy

UN agencies launch emergency plan for millions of Venezuelan refugees and migrants

COVID-19 has disrupted cybersecurity, too – here’s how businesses can decrease their risk

Three ways the world must tackle mental health

Water reuse: Commission proposes measures to make it easier and safer for agricultural irrigation

China’s Ambassador to the EU Zhang Ming wishes to Brussels a Happy 2019 Year of the Pig

A Sting Exclusive: “Cybersecurity: Why consumer products must be looked at urgently”, by BEUC’s Deputy Director General

These countries have the most doctors and nurses

Commission’s report shows that targeted investment and robust digital policies boost Member States’ performance

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s