As Turkey pursues its military operation in north-east Syria, the World Council of Churches (WCC) is gravely concerned about the humanitarian impact on the people of the region. It is reported that tens of thousands of civilians are fleeing from the first waves of the Turkish attack, and that hundreds of thousands of people are now directly in harm’s way.
“The Syrian people have already been subjected to too much conflict, and far too much bloodshed, destruction and displacement”, said WCC general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit. “The churches of the world demand an end to it – an end to the suffering of the people. Enough fighting, chaos and death. It is time for peace, for respite, for dialogue, and for justice for the victims of atrocities perpetrated through these catastrophic years of violence.”
In addition to those displaced by the fighting, it is expected that as many as 2 million people will suffer as a result of the military operation’s impact on infra-structure, facilities and services for basic life needs.
The area under attack, governed by the ‘Self Administration of Northeast Syria’ (SANES), includes populations of Christians, Yazidis, Kurds, Arabs and other vulnerable groups that suffered grievously during the years of war. Many have already been displaced multiple times as they fled the fight in other parts of Syria towards the north-east, which had remained relatively secure and stable. But now even this refuge is being turned into a battlefield by the Turkish operation.
Moreover, this incursion will have highly negative consequences on the UN-led political process, and on the recently agreed resumption of national dialogue in Syria through the Constitutional Committee.
WCC has been working throughout the years of the Syrian conflict to promote and facilitate dialogue and mutual solidarity between representatives of disparate sectors of Syrian society, and to promote peace, justice and equal rights for all Syrians.