Turkish NGOs ready for wave of Syrians fleeing Idlib attacks

DAILY SABAH
ANKARA
Published

Following the recent attacks by Bashar Assad's regime and Russian forces on Syria's Idlib, a new flux of internally displaced people (IDP) is expected, which has mobilized Turkish nongovernmental organizations to ramp up their efforts to provide urgent aid.

The recent news of attacks on Idlib has raised concerns as eight civilians were killed and at least 40 people were injured in an assault over the weekend. It is also suspected that the regime forces have used poisonous gas in its attacks on Idlib's Saraqib district.

In recent weeks, regime forces and their allies pushed into Idlib, an opposition stronghold, inching closer to a key highway that connects Syria's two largest cities, Damascus and Aleppo.

The U.N. says more than 270,000 have been displaced in Idlib because of the regime onslaught since Dec. 15.

Upon the recent attacks, it is expected that nearly 30,000-to-35,000 people might flee Saraqib, as the region is under heavy attacks. The Turkish Red Crescent has hence increased its efforts for preparations of aid for the possible wave of refugees. The head of the organization recently stated that they will start to set up new tents in two camp areas with the coordination of the Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD).

Turkish Red Crescent President Kerem Kınık said the regime is pounding the Saraqib region, which creates the risk of a new wave of 30,000-to-35,000 internally displaced people. "We are starting our work with AFAD. We will start setting up tents after AFAD provides infrastructure and ground arrangement. We expect the ground arrangement to start next week," Kınık said.

When the regime and Russian forces increased their attacks on Idlib in early January, tens of thousands of people fled the province. In the face of the growing need for shelter, the Turkish Red Crescent has been setting up tents for Syrians who have been fleeing their homes in search of safer areas.

The Red Crescent plans to initially set up 500 tents in the Kelbit region, north of Sarmanda, and 100 tents have already been set up. The Turkey Diyanet Foundation (TDV) set up 1,000 tents for Syrian refugees in northern Idlib after they fled violence in their hometown Hama.

Sharing a 911-kilometer-long border with Syria, Turkey has been greatly affected by the ongoing civil war as various terrorist groups have filled the vacuum left in the region and posed security threats against the country.

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