• Press Release

Turkish Military Offensive Risks a Humanitarian Catastrophe in Syria 

October 11, 2019

Turkish-backed Syrian rebels gather in Hawar Killis in the northern countryside of Syria's Aleppo province on October 11, 2019 as they prepare to take part in Turkey's invasion of northeastern Syria. - Turkish and allied forces faced stiff Kurdish resistance as they battled to seize key border towns, on the third day of a broad offensive that sparked a civilian exodus. (Photo by Zein Al RIFAI / AFP) (Photo by ZEIN AL RIFAI/AFP via Getty Images)
The military offensive by Turkey in northeast Syria risks devastating humanitarian consequences and a further destabilization of the region, warned Amnesty International’s Europe Director, Marie Struthers, reiterating the call on Turkey to respect international law.

Hostilities will impact and restrict access to humanitarian aid pushing the civilian population, which has already suffered years of violence and displacement, to the brink.

“It is vital that Turkish forces in the area respect their obligations under international humanitarian law to minimize the impact of their military operations on civilian populations. Turkey must ensure civilians fleeing the conflict can access safer areas including by crossing the border into Turkey to seek international protection.

“The offensive is being accompanied by a draconian crackdown on dissent and censorship of the media with investigations under anti-terrorism laws and police detention, targeting those criticizing the military operation.

“Quashing criticism of Turkey’s military operations and targeting journalists and social media users with threats of detention and criminal prosecutions is unacceptable. This crackdown violates Turkey’s obligations under international human rights law and it will not make the brutal realities of the offensive magically disappear.”