CEO of InterAction, Sam Worthington, issued the following statement regarding military incursion on the Turkish-Syrian border.
“InterAction strongly urges all State and non- State parties to conflict to exercise restraint in northeast Syria, to take every precaution to protect civilians and civilian infrastructure. Our community is highly concerned about the disruption of aid operations and the increased risk to aid workers and facilities, most especially Syrian national staff.
“Northeast Syria is a region that is still reeling from nearly a decade of conflict, including the impacts of ISIS territorial control and the U.S.- led counter-offensive. A renewed conflict will further imperil civilians, lead to mass displacement as families are forced to flee for safety, and endanger humanitarian access for aid agencies.
“InterAction urges all parties to conflict to adhere to international humanitarian law and make every effort to ensure unfettered humanitarian access as well as the freedom of movement of affected people, including the right to seek protection outside their country of origin.
“Over 90,000 displaced persons already reside within 5km of the Syria-Turkey border, and over 1.6 million are in need of humanitarian assistance in northeast Syria. Forced displacement will result in increased humanitarian needs.
“Especially concerning are statements suggesting that Syrian refugees will be forcibly returned to the northeast region of Syria, which is unsafe and insecure. Such an action would be in direct contravention of the principle of non-refoulement and is prohibited under international law.
“Millions in Syria and its neighboring countries are reliant upon humanitarian aid, including the region where this is occurring. The only way the conditions underling this humanitarian need will change is to de-escalate and swiftly end the conflict through a peaceful political process.”
Read our Members’ statements HERE.