HRW: Turkish strikes exacerbate humanitarian crisis in north-east Syria

The Human Rights Watch (HRW) said that the Turkish airstrikes on North and East Syria have exacerbated the humanitarian crisis.

In a statement on Thursday, the HRW said that “Turkish airstrikes since November 20, 2022, are inflicting damage on densely populated areas and critical infrastructure across north and northeast Syria and exacerbating an already catastrophic humanitarian crisis for Kurds, Arabs, and other communities in the region.”

International humanitarian workers and local residents told the HRW that the strikes have displaced families, caused significant power cuts and fuel shortages, forced aid organizations to temporarily suspend certain activities, and led to school and work disruptions.

Citing nongovernmental organizations working in northeast Syria, the HRW said that targeting energy infrastructure could harm the environment and the current water crisis in the region.

“Turkey’s attacks on populated areas and critical infrastructure across north and northeast Syria is putting civilians’ basic rights further at risk,” Adam Coogle, deputy Middle East director at the HRW said.

“Syrians are already enduring a humanitarian catastrophe, a growing displacement crisis, and an economy in free fall. Turkey’s military strikes risk making an already unbearable situation much worse for Kurds, Arabs, and other communities.”

The HRW also called attention to the effects of the attacks on detained Syrian and foreign ISIS members.

“Turkey can, and should, ensure that its military actions do not further aggravate northeast Syria’s humanitarian and displacement crises,” Coogle said.

“Turkey’s international allies should press the government to ensure that its campaign does not put Syrians’ basic rights at risk,” he added.