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Home » IANS » UN steps up aid in northeast Syria amid Turkish offensive

UN steps up aid in northeast Syria amid Turkish offensive

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Geneva, Oct 15 (IANS/AKI) Teams from the UN refugee agency have assisted some 31,800 people in northeast Syria since the start of a Turkish air campaign there last week, UNCHR global spokesperson Liz Throssell said on Tuesday.

In Al-Hassakeh and Tal Tamer, UNHCR has distributed blankets and other core relief items to some 20,250 people in three camps for internally displaced people (IDPs) and to another 11,550 people living in communal shelters, Throssell said at a press briefing here.

UNHCR has also sent additional aid, including blankets for 52,000 people, plastic sheeting for 15,000 people and solar lamps for 20,000 people to Qamishli, she added.

“We continue to conduct through our protection partners assessments in communal shelters in Al-Hassakeh, Tal Tamer and Ar-Raqqa. Many newly displaced families have reportedly settled within the host communities and their needs are also being assessed,” Throssell said.

Among the immediate protection needs which have been identified are the lack of civilian documentation as people left their homes without papers and other belongings. Families have also been separated, she noted.

Some civilians caught up in the warfare need psychological first aid and psychosocial support and UNHCR has sent protection teams to assess the most vulnerable, including people with specific needs, elderly people and those with disabilities and serious medical conditions, Throssell said.

Since the reported departure of camp administration/management from Ain Issa camp, located approximately some 45 km south of the border town of Tell Abiad, UNHCR has mobilized volunteers and community leaders to arrange the return of identification documents to camp residents who were without papers, she added.

“As of today, humanitarian workers are unable to safely access the camp to provide critical life-saving assistance. Basic services, including food and water, are no longer being provided,” Throssell stated.

UNHCR reckons it needs a further $31.5 million to help civilians within Syria, although “given the fast evolving developments on the ground,” that figure could rise, Throssell said.

Amid the continued fighting, some 184 people crossed from northeast Syria into neighbouring Iraq on Monday, with a further 277 arriving overnight into Tuesday, she stated.

Many of the refugees had fled their homes in the Kobani area, some of them walking for three or four days to reach safety.

It is estimated that another 2,000 people who have fled the latest fighting in the region are currently close to the Syria-Iraq border, Throssell added.



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