Amnesty International warns Turkey about humanitarian crisis

Amnesty International said on Friday the military offensive by Turkey in northeast Syria risked creating a devastating humanitarian catastrophe and could further destabilise the region.

“Hostilities will impact and restrict access to humanitarian aid, pushing the civilian population - which has already suffered years of violence and displacement - to the brink," said Marie Struthers, Amnesty International’s Europe Director.

Turkey has launched the operation saying it will set up a safe zone stretching along its border inside Syria to rid the area of Kurdish fighters that it labels terrorists, and to resettle Syrian refugees. The offensive began after U.S. President Donald Trump gave Erdoğan permission in a phone call on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Turkish authorities take aim at any criticism against Syria offensive. Turkey’s police department announced on Wednesday that it had launched investigations into 78 people over social media posts criticising Turkey’ military offensive. And, Police on Friday have detained 11 people in Izmir, western Turkey, over social media posts about the Turkish incursion.

“The offensive is being accompanied by a draconian crackdown on dissent and censorship of the media with investigations under anti-terrorism laws and police detention, targeting those criticising the military operation," Struthers said.

Suppressing criticism of the military operation and targeting social media users with threats of detention and criminal prosecutions is "unacceptable", she said.