The medical charity Doctors Without Borders says its suspending most of its operations in northeast Syria, out of concern for the safety of its workers during Turkey’s offensive against Kurdish positions in the area.
“The latest developments have increased the need for humanitarian assistance, yet it is impossible to deliver it with the current insecurity,” Robert Onus, the charity’s emergency manager for Syria, says in a statement.
The group, widely known by its French initials MSF (Medecins Sans Frontieres), was operating in cities and camps including Ain Issa, Al Hol, Tal Tamer and Raqqa.
In Tal Tamer, for example, MSF says it had been distributing blankets, food and water to “thousands of people who were arriving in the town daily” since the Turkish incursion began last week.
“Given the numerous groups fighting on different sides of the conflict, we can no longer guarantee the safety of our Syrian and international staff,” it says.
But while international staff will be evacuated, “we are extremely worried about the safety of our Syrian colleagues and their families who remain in northeast Syria,” it said.
MSF says its personnel would remain in northwest Syria, providing health care at facilities and in mobile clinics.