Bill Chambers, President and CEO of Save the Children Canada said:
‘We are deeply concerned for the hundreds of thousands of people present in North East Syria, and we urge all military parties on the ground to ensure that operations do not impact civilians who could face widespread displacement or have their movements restricted.
Currently, there are 1.65 million people in need of humanitarian assistance in this area, including more than 650,000 displaced by war. All essential services including food, water, shelter, health, education, and protection must be consistently provided to all civilians, or we could see another humanitarian disaster unfold before our eyes.
In addition to the Syrian civilians in the North East, there are thousands of women and children living in camps across the area. There are more than 9,000 children from more than 40 different nationalities including Canadian children, in three camps who rely completely and exclusively on humanitarian aid. Any interruption to camp services which are already overstretched would put their lives at risk.
The reports of imminent military operations and troops already sent to the border are deeply troubling. We call on foreign governments to take urgent steps to move the children and women in the camps to safety, with a view to ensuring humanitarian access and where possible, repatriation. Urgent action is needed before access becomes even more unpredictable.
We call on all parties to ensure that all children and their families across North East Syria are protected.’