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UN warns against civilian displacement in northeast Syria following US withdrawal

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Following reports that the United States is withdrawing troops from northeast Syria, the UN warned on Monday against the further displacement of civilians from the war-torn region.

Regional Humanitarian Coordinator, Panos Moumtzis, reportedly told correspondents in Geneva the UN had made contingency plans to assist civilians forced to flee south, if Turkish forces advance on Kurdish positions, following the US policy shift.

He said any military operation had to take the effects on civilians into account, adding that the UN is “hoping for the best, but preparing for the worst”, according to news reports.

US allies, the Syrian Kurdish militia, or YPG, are considered a terrorist organization by Turkey, with Ankara arguing for the creation of a so-called “safe zone” for civilians along the Syrian border, under its control.

Mr. Moumtzis said that the concept had not worked in the past, referencing the massacre of Bosnian Muslims at the hands of Bosnian Serbs in Srebrenica, in 1995.