Despite criticism from the international community, the Turkish army has been given the green light to conduct Operation ‘Peace Spring’. After starting the offensive against the Kurdish militias in north-eastern Syria, they are proceeding with air raids, on an almost a daily basis, in nearby Iraqi Kurdistan.
Several north-eastern Syrian cities are being bombed heavily. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, there are reports of at least 15 deaths from Turkey’s first attacks, at least 8 of whom were civilians.
“EMERGENCY is greatly concerned about the news of yet more attacks in an area that we know very well. We call on the whole of Europe to commit themselves to stopping the conflict, to protect the Kurdish people, and to start serious negotiations with Turkey demanding respect for human rights. We call, in line with the UN Security Council today, for an end to the hostilities, for borders to be respected, and for the tragedy of the Kurds, one of the largest stateless nations, to return onto the global agenda, so an agreement about the recognition of these people and their independent rule over their land can be reached. Once again, the rule of the ‘strongest’ and global power dynamics prevail over international rights and respect for human rights.” says Rossella Miccio, EMERGENCY’s President.
EMERGENCY has been operating in northern Iraq since 1995, in what is currently the autonomous region of Kurdistan, a heavily mined area bordering Iran, Turkey and Syria.
On 18th February 2019, the Rehabilitation and Social Reintegration Centre in Sulaymaniyah celebrated its 20th birthday. 11,000 people have been treated there, with 774 prostheses fitted in 2018.
More than 1.2 million internally displaced people (IDPs) have sought refuge in Iraqi Kurdistan, an area already under the strain of an influx of more than one million Syrian refugees. The Healthcare Centre for IDPs in Ashti Camp, where 11,500 people live, deals daily with a large influx of patients (around 150 a day) and transfers the most serious cases to local hospitals.
Five more Healthcare Centres, which were opened by us in Khanaquin, Qoratu, Arbat and Tazade, are now run by local healthcare authorities – following handovers completed in February 2015, June and December 2017, and September 2018.
To date, EMERGENCY has treated more than 600,000 people in the camps. We will continue to do this and, if necessary, increase our capacity.