- Title: U.N. calls for protecting civilians in northeast Syria
- Date: 7th October 2019
- Summary: AKCAKALE, TURKEY (RECENT - SEPTEMBER 8, 2019) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF TURKISH MILITARY VEHICLES DRIVING INTO TURKISH SIDE OF THE BORDER GENEVA, SWITZERLAND (OCTOBER 7, 2019) (REUTERS) UNITED NATIONS BUILDING UNITED NATIONS REGIONAL HUMANITARIAN COORDINATOR FOR THE SYRIA CRISIS, PANOS MOUMTZIS TALKING TO JOURNALISTS (SOUNDBITE) (English) UNITED NATIONS REGIONAL HUMANITARIAN COORDINATOR FOR THE SYRIA CRISIS, PANOS MOUMTZIS, SAYING: "It is a conflict that has gone on for far too long and therefore any operation that takes place at the moment has to take into account to ensure that we do not see any further displacement. We do not know what it is going to happen, we are preparing for the worst because indeed, from experience, this could result to a displacement of people, we want to make sure that we are ready." MOUMTZIS TALKING TO JOURNALISTS (SOUNDBITE) (English) UNITED NATIONS REGIONAL HUMANITARIAN COORDINATOR FOR THE SYRIA CRISIS, PANOS MOUMTZIS, SAYING: "For us, as United Nations, the "safe zone" concept is one that we have a bitter history and actually, we never promote, encourage and we do not think it was something that had worked for the United Nations keeping in mind Srebrenica and what had happened in the past. We understand that there is going to be some kind of a security zone which will be very specifically targeted to a military operation or to an area where it has to be some, some clearance or - So, our hope is that there will be a full cooperation by all, to make sure that it happens as smoothly as possible, without resulting to displacement, with and ensuring protection of civilians and ensuring the basic principles of humanity will be respected on the ground." TEL ABYAD, SYRIA (AS SEEN FROM AKCAKALE, TURKEY) (RECENT - SEPTEMBER 8, 2019) (REUTERS) U.S. MILITARY CONVOY DRIVING AWAY VARIOUS OF HELICOPTERS FLYING OVER TURKISH - SYRIAN BORDER GENEVA, SWITZERLAND (OCTOBER 7, 2019) (REUTERS) MOUMTZIS TALKING TO JOURNALISTS (SOUNDBITE) (English) UNITED NATIONS REGIONAL HUMANITARIAN COORDINATOR FOR THE SYRIA CRISIS, PANOS MOUMTZIS, SAYING: "At the moment, there is still about 600,000 people who live under tents which is a big worry for us and one has to keep in mind that out of the 3 million residents of Idlib in the broader northwest area, about half are already internally displaced and three-fourths of whom are women and children, so we are talking about a large number of civilians who will find themselves caught up in the, in the conflict and our concern still remains the protection of civilians in the conduct of hostilities and what we ask all parties to make sure that the basic rule of law which is really to respect civilians is protected." PANOS MOUMTZIS TALKING TO JOURNALISTS U.N. LOGO AKCAKALE, TURKEY (OCTOBER 5, 2019) (REUTERS) (NIGHT SHOTS) VARIOUS OF TOW TRUCKS CARRYING TANKS AND ARMORED VEHICLES CONVOY DRIVING TOWARDS MILITARY UNITS ON SYRIAN BORDER
- Embargoed: 21st October 2019 12:55
- Keywords: Turkish military operation Syria Kurdish forces U.S. military pullout
- Location: GENEVA, SWITZERLAND/ AKCAKALE, TURKEY/ TEL ABYAD, SYRIA
- City: GENEVA, SWITZERLAND/ AKCAKALE, TURKEY/ TEL ABYAD, SYRIA
- Country: Switzerland
- Topics: Conflicts/War/Peace,Military Conflicts
- Reuters ID: LVA001B03LYDJ
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Civilians must be spared in any Turkish military operation in northeast Syria, where the United Nations hopes that mass displacement and Srebrenica-like killings can be prevented, a senior U.N. aid official said on Monday (October 7).
The United States began pulling troops from northeast Syria in a major policy shift, opening the way for a Turkish attack on Kurdish-led forces long allied to Washington and handing Turkey responsibility for thousands of jihadi captives.
The United Nations currently delivers aid to 700,000 people in the densely-populated northeast region of 1.7 million.
It has drawn up contingency plans to reach people who might flee south with food and medical aid, said Panos Moumtzis, U.N. regional humanitarian coordinator for the Syria crisis.
Turkey has long argued for the establishment of a 20-mile (32 km) "safe zone" along the border, under Turkish control, driving back the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia - which is the dominant force in the SDF alliance and which Ankara considers a terrorist organisation and a threat to its national security.
Moumtzis, asked about the Turkish offensive against Kurdish-led forces and the 'safe zone' idea, said U.N. never promoted it as it has "a bitter history" with it, making reference to Srebrenica, the slaughter by Bosnian Serb troops of 8,000 Muslim men and boys in 1995 in a U.N.-declared "safe zone".
The United Nations is in contact with all sides to explain where clinics, schools, water points, markets and residential areas are located, and to urge them "to stay away from civilian people", Moumtzis said.
(Production: Cecile Mantovani)
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
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