Desperate measures - Syrians fleeing Turkey’s military operation

Published 17. Dec 2019|Updated 16. Dec 2019
The majority of refugees fleeing from Turkey’s military operation in north east Syria say they won’t return to their country, and plan on settling in Iraq.

Since Turkey launched a military operation in north east Syria, over 220,000 people have fled the violence inside Syria, in addition to the 17,900 Syrians who have sought refuge in northern Iraq. NRC surveyed 208 newly arrived families in Bardarash refugee camp, where the majority of those who fled Syria to the Kurdish Region of Iraq (KRI), are being hosted.

The vast majority, 78 per cent, of households surveyed in Badarash are from Qamishli and Ras Al Ayn, having fled aerial bombardment, artillery shelling and ground fighting. Two-thirds of families were forced to stop along the way, reporting a range of experiences including being blocked by the SDF, coming under indiscriminate shelling, having to travel long distances after nightfall, having to rest and facing delays because the route was not clear. While 525 Syrians have returned to north east Syria in recent weeks, 95 per cent of Syrians in Baradash report that they intended to remain and settle in the KRI.