Turkey assault in Syria has seen 300,000 displaced

Turkey assault in Syria has seen 300,000 displaced
Previous figures showed at least 160,000 civilians displaced since the offensive began, but the numbers given by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights show a doubling in size.
2 min read
17 October, 2019
There are also fears that regime forces will trigger further displacements. [Getty Images]
The Turkish offensive in northeastern Syria against Kurdish militants has displaced more than 300,000 people, a war monitor said Thursday.

Previous figures from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs showed that at least 160,000 civilians were displaced since the offensive began on 9 October, but the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights gave double this number. 

"More than 300,000 civilians have been displaced since the start of the offensive,"said Rami Abdel Rahman, the head of the war monitor.

The mass displacements were triggered over the past few days from areas dragged into the conflict which have seen at least 71 civilians have been killed.

Abdel Rahman said a spike in numbers corresponded to people fleeing from the towns of Tal Abyad and Kobani, and around Hasakeh province.

Read more: Hundreds of Syrian refugees enter northern Iraq after Turkey offensive

People at risk of danger - sleeping rough in orchards, or in schools turned into emergency shelters - moved away from the conflict, some with relatives Abdel Rahman said.

There are also fears that regime forces expanding their strong-hold in the region will trigger further displacements. 

The media network Deirezzor24 said that there was "tension and anger" in areas which saw the entry of Assad-backed forces into Hassakeh province. 

Anti-regime protests broke out in most of the villages west of Deirezzor city because people fear that regime opponents will be arrested and that young men will be conscripted into the regime army.

Turkey and its Syrian proxies launched a broad assault on Kurdish-controlled areas on 9 October after US troops pulled back from the border and started withdrawing from the northeast altogether.

Dozens of civilians - mostly on the Kurdish side - have been killed since the start of the offensive, which Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has refused to halt despite mounting international pressure.