Northeastern Syria Crisis

for Die Zeit and Volkskrant, Syria 2019

In 2019 the Turkish Army launched an offensive into North-eastern Syria, named Operation Peace Spring (Turkish: Barış Pınarı Harekâtı). Turkish military forces, together with forces of the Syrian National Army, were conducting military operations against the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in Northeastern Syria. The conflict resulted in the displacement of 300.000 people and the deaths of 300 civilians, according to Human Rights monitoring groups.

The declared aim of the Turkish Government was to expel the SDF from the border region and to create a 30km -depp safe zone, with the aim of resettling some of the 3.6 million refugees from Syria refugees who reside in Turkey. On October 22nd the Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, agreed to carve out and police a buffer zone stretching across the Kurdish heartland in northeast Syria. It required kurdish forces s to pull back 30 kilometres from the Syria-Turkey border along the 440km stretch running from the Euphrates to Iraq and simultaneously relinquishing control of many of their main towns.