Syria

Syria ǀ Flash Update #2, Humanitarian impact of the military operation in north-eastern Syria, 11 October 2019

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Highlights:

  • Heavy fighting and advances continue with some changes in control reported in areas along the border. Reportedly, about 100,000 people have been displaced in the last two days; an estimated 35,000 people from Tell Abiad and surrounding areas; and an estimated 65,000 people from Ras El Ain. There are reports of further displacements though numbers are not yet known.

  • There have been reports of casualties and injuries on both sides of the border. The UN is working to verify additional reports of casualties on both sides.

  • The Mabroka displacement camp, hosting about 5,000 people, started evacuating people on 11 October due to insecurity in the area. Camp management have indicated similar relocation plans for Ein Issa camp, which hosts 13,200 people.

  • The water situation in Al-Hasakeh city and rural areas is deteriorating. The Allouk water station in Ras Al-Ain, which supplies Al-Hasakeh city and surrounding areas remains inoperable after being hit on 9 and 10 October. Technical teams attempting to repair the station have been unable to access due to ongoing hostilities. Efforts are being made by the UN to advocate for access for the technical team to restore the water station. An estimated 400,000 people are affected by the suspension.

Situation overview

Turkey launched a military operation in north-east Syria on 9 October. Shelling and airstrikes were reported along the north-east Syrian/Turkish border, from Jarablus to the west of the Euphrates and to the Turkish/Syrian/Iraqi border. Reportedly, over 180 locations were hit along the border between Syria and Turkey in and around Ras AlAin, Tell Abiad, Ein Issa and Al Malikeyeh and areas 5 kilometers east of Quamishli city. Ground offensives were also launched in different areas in Ras Al-Ain, Tell Abiad and Ain Al Arab. Heavy fighting continued to be reported throughout 10 and 11 October, with some changes in control reported in areas along the border. On 10 October, two shells also hit Al-Gharbiyah and Hilaliyah neighbourhoods in Quamishli city.

Humanitarian impact

Humanitarian impact remains difficult to ascertain as the situation is fluid and volatile. While hostilities reportedly have mostly targeted security positions, or unpopulated areas, casualties have been reported on both sides of the border. The UN is working to verify additional reports of casualties on both sides.

Large population movements from areas along the border have been reported, with a constant flow of people seen moving along various main roads. Based on initial reports, about 100,000 people are estimated to have been displaced since 9 October. Most residents in Tell Abiad and Ras Al-Ain are believed to have left the cities and surrounding areas. At the time of publication, population movements were reported as follows:

  • An estimated 35,000 people displaced from Tell Abiad city and its surrounding villages towards Ar-Raqqa city and surrounding villages, and to rural Ein Issa and rural Ain Al Arab in Aleppo Governorate.

  • An estimated 65,000 people displaced from Ras Al Ain, Derbasyeh, Quamishli and Amuda cities and its northern rural village areas towards Al-Hasakeh and Tal Tamr sub-districts.

Reports of further displacements continue though numbers are not yet known. While most people have reportedly reached relatives or host communities, an increasing number of people yesterday arrived at collective shelters in AlHasakeh city and Tal Tamr. As people continued to arrive, schools are being used as collective centres, with at least five schools so far reportedly hosting people in Al-Hasakeh city and two schools hosting people in Tal Tamr. Assessments are taking place to identify key needs. Humanitarian actors are mobilizing to respond.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.