Turk­ish aid con­voys flood­ing in to as­sist war-torn Syria

Turkey’s hu­man­i­tar­ian ef­forts in Syria con­tinue to serve needy peo­ple in the war-torn coun­try, adding pos­i­tively to Ankara’s diplo­matic work to bring po­lit­i­cal sta­bil­ity to Syria

Daily Sabah (Turkey) - - Front Page -

long con­voys of aid con­tinue to reach the peo­ple of war-stricken Syria through Turkey’s hu­man­i­tar­ian ef­forts. A to­tal of 42,000 truck­loads of aid have been sent to the coun­try since be­gin­ning of the war in 2011, Kerem Kınık, the head of the Turk­ish Red Cres­cent, said.

TURKEY sends truck­loads of aid to needy peo­ple in Syria ev­ery day, now that the nor­mal­iza­tion process in the wartorn coun­try has ac­cel­er­ated, thanks to the re­cent of­fen­sives of the Turk­ish Armed Forces (TSK) that cleared the re­gion from ter­ror­ists and pro­vided peace.

“The re­cent de­vel­op­ments, namely the TSK’s mil­i­tary op­er­a­tions in north­ern Syria and the agree­ment for a demil­i­ta­rized zone in Idlib, paved the way for the hu­man­i­tar­ian aid to be sent to the rel­a­tively safe ar­eas in Syria,” said Kerem Kınık, the head of the Turk­ish Red Cres­cent, one of the most prom­i­nent hu­man­i­tar­ian aid providers to Syria.

Speak­ing to Anadolu Agency (AA), Kınık added that the char­ity has been aid­ing the needy peo­ple of Syria from the very be­gin­ning of the con­flict in 2011. He said that in al­most eight years, 42,000 truck­loads of aid have been sent to the coun­try.

Be­tween Au­gust 2016 and March 2017 Turkey con­ducted Op­er­a­tion Euphrates Shield with the aim of elim­i­nat­ing the ter­ror­ist threat along the Turk­ish bor­der with the ef­forts of the Free Syr­ian Army (FSA). Later, on Jan. 20, Turkey launched Op­er­a­tion Olive Branch to re­move the PKKlinked Peo­ple’s Pro­tec­tion Units (YPG) and Daesh ter­ror­ists from north­west­ern Syria’s Afrin re­gion with the aim of pro­vid­ing na­tional se­cu­rity, as well as to pave the way for Syr­ian refugees to re­turn to their homes.

Turkey’s ef­forts to bring peace to the re­gion con­tin­ued in Syria’s north­west­ern Idlib prov­ince. On Sept. 17 Turkey and Rus­sia struck a deal in the Rus­sian town of Sochi to ward off a Bashar As­sad regime of­fen­sive on the last ma­jor op­posi- tion en­clave in Syria and avert a pos­si­ble hu­man­i­tar­ian catas­tro­phe. The deal set up a demil­i­ta­rized zone run­ning 15-20 kilo­me­ters that was sup­posed to be evac­u­ated of all heavy weapons and all op­po­si­tion groups. The deal also fore­sees that op­po­si­tion groups in north­west­ern Syria’s Idlib will re­main in ar­eas where they are al­ready present, while Rus­sia and Turkey will carry out joint pa­trols in the area.

“The forms of aid are rang­ing from shel­ters to de­liv­ery of food and other ba­sic hu­man­i­tar­ian needs,” Kınık in­di­cated.

“We are aid­ing some 6.5 mil­lion dis­placed peo­ple in Syria via our own fa­cil­i­ties or with the help of in­ter­na­tional NGOs or or­ga­ni­za­tions such as the U.N. We send 20-25 truck­loads of hu­man­i­tar­ian aid daily to Syria. By this year, we will help 30 mil­lion peo­ple,” Kınık added. Nearly eight years have passed since the bru­tal war in Syria be­gan, and within this pe­riod hun­dreds of thou­sands of peo­ple have faced forced dis­place­ment, ei­ther within the coun­try or have had to seek shel­ter else­where, neigh­bor­ing Turkey be­ing the first choice.


The Turk­ish Red Cres­cent not only pro­vides hu­man­i­tar­ian aid to Syria but also cre­ates mul­ti­di­men­sional op­por­tu­ni­ties for more last­ing so­lu­tions, in­clud­ing agricul- tu­ral en­cour­age­ment, build­ing per­ma­nent dwellings and health care de­liv­ery. Say­ing these works cre­ate a healthy at­mos­phere in a coun­try faced with, and still fac­ing, se­ri­ous con­se­quences of war. Kınık also stated that these are im­por­tant steps to en­cour­age Syr­ian refugees in Turkey to re­turn to rel­a­tively safe ar­eas in their na­tive lands.

The re­turns in­creased af­ter the suc­ces­sive op­er­a­tions Euphrates Shield and Olive Branch. Over­all, more than 160,000 Syr­ian refugees have re­turned home re­cently through bor­der cross­ings. The char­ity also has been work­ing on the im­prove­ment of the tents in refugee camps as well as peo­ple’s health prob­lems in dif­fer­ent zones of the coun­try. High­light­ing that two district hospi­tals with 200 beds each have been built in the Syr­ian town of Al-Bab and in the Çoban­bey district of Kilis prov­ince on the Turk­ish-Syr­ian Bor­der, Kınık added “The hospi­tals are go­ing to be open to serve soon. In ad­di­tion to this, we keep work­ing to ful­fill the blood need.”

The Turk­ish Red Cres­cent and the United Na­tions Of­fice for the Co­or­di­na­tion of Hu­man­i­tar­ian Af­fairs (OCHA) signed a co­op­er­a­tion pro­to­col in June to help the in­ter­nally dis­placed in war-torn Syria. Un­der the pro­to­col, the U.N. agency will de­liver $2.3 mil­lion this year to the Turk­ish Red Cres­cent for the lat­ter’s hu­man­i­tar­ian ef­forts in Syria.

A lo­cal res­i­dent of Syria’s Afrin car­ries a hu­man­i­tar­ian aid pack­age from the Turk­ish Red Cres­cent, March 31.

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