ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Kurdish humanitarian groups on Thursday called for immediate “international support” to help manage the growing refugee crisis in Syrian Kurdistan (Rojava) following Turkey’s military operation in the Afrin region which displaced hundreds of thousands.
Refugee camps have been set up in the Shehba canton of Rojava, southeast of the previously Kurdish-held enclave.
Officials from Afrin and Shehba told local media that they had used their own limited resources to build a camp for those fleeing the military campaign in Afrin.
According to the camp’s spokesperson, Hesen Heman, a second camp is currently being built to help manage the increasing number of displaced persons.
“We will be putting up 2,000 tents in this camp,” she said. “Our goal is to settle 15,000 people here.”
“We are trying to fulfill all their needs with our own means; we haven’t received any help from the outside to date. Outside aid must come urgently,” Heman added.
Last month, the World Health Organization (WHO) said recent hostilities in the Syrian Kurdish enclave had displaced an estimated 167,000 people.
Most of the people fled about 30 kilometers southeast to Tal Rifaat in the Shehba canton, while others traveled further south toward Aleppo to the towns of Nubul, Zahra, and surrounding villages.
On Jan. 20, Turkish forces and allied Syrian rebels, known as the Free Syrian Army (FSA), launched a joint military campaign against the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), a key US ally in the fight against the Islamic State.
Since capturing Afrin on March 18, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has threatened to advance further east into Manbij, where YPG forces and US troops are stationed.