Report: ERDOGAN’S “SECURITY ZONE” Refugees and humanitarian aid in North East Syria

Key facts and proposals about the motivations, impact and long term consequences of the Turkish invasion on North East Syria

On the 9th October 2019, Turkey started their long-threatened invasion of Northern Syria following Trump’s much criticized decision to withdraw US military support for the Syrian Democratic Forces. Widespread and indiscriminate shelling and air strikes targeting most of the cities and villages along the border has caused civilian deaths, injuries, damage to infrastructure and mass population movements away from the conflict. The evacuation of all international NGO staff has further intensified the crisis.

As the conflict moves into a new stage with the Syrian government and the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria entering into an agreement on the 13th October which sees Russian-supported Syrian government troops defending the border from Turkish attacks, the threat to human life and the future security of the region remains unstable and unpredictable.

In addition to being a humanitarian crisis in its own terms, Turkish attacks are also compounding the effects of the Syrian Civil War that the region was already experiencing. Since the start of the civil war in Syria in 2011, an esti- mated 5.6 million people have fled Syria to other countries, while 6.2 million have been internally displaced (IDPs) within Syria (UNHCR figures).

With the current estimates placing the number of displaced civilians at over 200,000, the number of Syrians who have been displaced or become refugees has bro- ken 12 million. Over the course of the war and the subsequent rise of ISIS across Syria and Iraq, North and East Syria has received hundreds of thousands of IDPs from across Syria, as well as refugees from the ISIS caliphate in Iraq. In this report we will examine Erdogan’s stated reasons for the invasion, including proposals for a so-called “security zone” in which to resettle refugees. We will also assess the ongoing humanitarian impact of the invasion, as well as analyzing the long term impact of the invasion on the stability and security of the region. Report in PDF