Middle East Turkey ousts US humanitarian agency aiding Syrians

Turkey ousts US humanitarian agency aiding Syrians
This undated picture shows Mercy Corps volunteers distributing aid to displaced civilians in an undisclosed location in northern Syrian. (Mercy Corps)

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) - Turkish authorities revoked the license of Mercy Corps, an American humanitarian aid group helping hundreds of thousands of refugees since the beginning of the civil war in Syria, said the agency on Tuesday.

In a press release on its website, Mercy Corps which works in 40 countries worldwide, announced the denial of registration had forced them to shut down all of their operations in Turkey, effective immediately.

"Our hearts are broken by this turn of events, which comes after five years of cooperation with the government of Turkey and other local partners," read the release.

Humanitarian operation Mercy Corps conducted from Turkey was one of the largest, "delivering urgently needed, life-saving assistance to 350,000 to 500,000 innocent civilians in Syria each month."

There was no mention of any explanation from Turkish authorities on Mercy Corps website.

A government official said the decision was "technical" and that Mercy Corps had failed to meet "some documentation requirements," reported Reuters.

Acting US Department of State Spokesperson Mark Toner told the Washington Post that they were aware of the closure of Mercy Corps that is partly funded by US government grants in Turkey.

"We have informed the government of Turkey of our concerns regarding Mercy Corps' closure and the impact it will have on their ability to provide critical humanitarian assistance to vulnerable populations," Toner said.

"Our operations in Syria will continue, and our priority right now is to limit any adverse effects our departure from Turkey may have on the innocent men, women, and children who depend on our assistance," continued Mercy Corps statement adding they were seeking dialogue with Turkish authorities for resumption of their work there.


Editing by Ava Homa