NEW YORK/AMSTERDAM/NORTHEASTERN SYRIA, October 10, 2019—Since Turkey launched military operations in northeastern Syria yesterday, towns and villages along the border have been hit by heavy shelling and people are fleeing for their lives, in need of medical and humanitarian aid, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) said today.
"This escalation can only exacerbate the trauma that the people of Syria have already endured through years of war," said Robert Onus, MSF emergency manager for Syria. "Displacement and injuries caused by fighting are likely to put additional pressure on the already limited resources in hospitals."
In the border town Tal Abyad, in Raqqa governorate, shelling has forced the vast majority of people to flee. Tal Abyad hospital, which was supported by MSF, is completely closed after most of the medical staff left with their families. MSF teams have relocated to address needs in other parts of the region. As the only public hospital in the area, Tal Abyad hospital was critical to meeting the health needs of the town and surrounding areas.
"Our staff in Tal Abyad witnessed the town, which was once filled with life, become deserted," said Onus. "After eight years of war, the Syrian people have once again been forced to leave their homes and belongings to seek safety."