Following an Oct. 9 attack by Turkey on northeast Syria, more than 160,000 people, mainly Kurds but also Christians and Yazidis, have fled, according to the relief agency of the United Nations. With many humanitarian organizations also running for cover, aid for those on the run has been limited.
The attacks came three days after a widely denounced decision by U. S. President Donald Trump to withdraw American troops, which had been aligned with Kurdish forces in the region against the Islamic State. The Kurds and their YPG (People’s Protection Unit) fighters had assured Christians they could safely remain in their towns and villages.
The bulk of Christians in the buffer zone are settled in villages along the Syrian-Iraqi border, which Iraqi authorities have closed to Syrians fleeing the fighting. There’s been little fighting in that part of Turkey’s self-declared buffer zone. However, there’s concern for the 60,000-strong Christian community in Al Hasakah, about 50 kilometres south of the buffer zone.