First Published: 2017-10-18

Turkish Red Crescent concerned by Idlib humanitarian ‘drama’
Leader of Turkey’s Red Crescent alarmed by living standards for some 800,000 displaced Syrians in Idlib province where he hopes to deliver aid, infrastructure.
Middle East Online

There are 400 camps in Idlib, most of them 'makeshift in nature'

ISTANBUL - The Turkish Red Crescent on Wednesday expressed alarm over the "drama" of the humanitarian situation in the northwestern Syrian province of Idlib, saying 800,000 people were living in hundreds of largely makeshift camps.

But with Turkey launching a military operation to implement a so-called de-escalation zone in the province, the head of the Turkish Red Crescent Kerem Kinik expressed hope aid operations could be expanded across the province.

"In Idlib, the humanitarian situation is, unfortunately, one of a large-scale drama," Kinik told reporters in Istanbul.

He emphasised that people displaced by Syria's over six-year civil war had come to Idlib from other cities including Aleppo, Homs, Hama and Damascus.

"In Idlib there are 400 camps and 800,000 people are living in these camps most of which are unfortunately makeshift in nature," he said.

"They cannot produce anything and are dependent on outside help."

He said the population of Idlib -- which has now ballooned to three million with the refugees -- was hit by air raids and fighting between extremist groups.

But the Turkish army last week began an operation aimed at imposing security in Idlib which for the last months has been controlled by Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), a group led by Al-Qaeda's former Syria affiliate.

The army is setting up observation posts with the aim of implementing a de-escalation zone co-backed by Russia and agreed at peace talks in the Kazakh capital Astana.

- Humanitarian access -

Kinik said that once the "terror groups" are pushed out of Idlib "we will reach all areas inside" the province.

"We will deliver not just aid but God willing build infrastructure, schools hospitals, new housing," he said.

The Turkish Red Crescent is already carrying out cross-border operations to deliver aid into Idlib in coordination with the United Nations.

It has stocked up seven depots inside Idlib province with tents, food and other supplies to help the refugees and prepare for any new arrivals.

Turkey has throughout the Syrian civil war backed rebels seeking to oust President Bashar al-Assad, but is now working increasingly closely with his main ally Russia.

Kinik said that he would at the weekend be meeting with the head of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent in Beirut. "We have just one aim, to make sure there is not one place inside Syria that humanitarian aid cannot reach."

 

Iraq launches operation to clear last IS holdouts from desert

Divided Syria opposition meets in Riyadh

Lebanon’s Hariri suspends resignation

Revolt in US State Department over child soldier law

Outrage in Iraq over 'child marriage' bill

Hezbollah hails PM's suspension of resignation

Syrian opposition aims for unity at talks in Riyadh

Egypt police kill 3 Islamists in shootout

Turkey unsure if Assad to be part of Syria political transition

Migrant arrivals from Libya down since EU deal

Palestinian factions leave Cairo talks with little progress

Sudan’s Bashir looks to Putin for ‘protection’ from US aggression

China, Djibouti forge 'strategic' ties

IS propaganda channels fall quiet in 'unprecedented' hiatus

Kremlin to create Syria congress despite Turkey ‘reservations’

Netanyahu berates deputy minister for 'offensive' remarks on US Jews

Egypt PM heads to Germany for medical treatment

Egypt destroys 10 SUVs carrying arms on Libya border

Saudi-led coalition to reopen Yemen airport, port to aid

Turkey court rules to keep Amnesty chief in jail

France calls for UN meeting on Libya slave-trading

Egypt detains 29 for allegedly spying for Turkey

WTO panel to hear Qatar’s complaint against UAE blockade

Three dead as diphtheria spreads in Yemen

Israel seizes explosive material at Gaza border

Activists call for release of UK journalist held by IS

Bahrain upholds jail sentence for activist

Iraq attacks at lowest since 2014

Turkey continues crackdown in post-coup probe

Hariri back in Lebanon

Putin to hold Syria peace talks with Erdogan, Rouhani

US carries out air strikes against IS in Libya

Lebanon's Hariri in Egypt ahead of return home

Rebels say Sanaa airport 'ready to run' after coalition bombing

Greece to amend historic sharia law for Muslim minority

Turkey to ask Germany to extradite top coup suspect

Car bomb in northern Iraq kills at least 24

Morocco bans bitcoin transactions

13 million Syrians need aid despite relative drop in violence

Sudan urged to improve plight of Darfur's displaced people

Brain drain means Syria can’t recover for a generation

Palestinians close communication lines with Americans

Anti-IS coalition strikes drop to lowest number

German police arrest six Syrians ‘planning terror attack’

Palestinian factions in Cairo for reconciliation talks