Doctors Without Borders flees northern Syria after Trump withdraws US troops


It's become too dangerous for the humanitarian group to operate in the region amid an offensive Turkish military strike.

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), also known as Doctors without Borders, announced Tuesday that it would suspend most of its work in northern Syria due to the recent military strike by Turkey.

"It is with a heavy heart that MSF has taken the difficult decision to suspend the majority of its activities and evacuate its international staff out of northeast Syria," Robert Onus, MSF emergency manager for Syria, said in a statement. "We cannot operate at scale until we can gain the assurances and acceptance of all parties to the conflict that we can operate safely."

In the statement, MSF detailed some of the horrors being reported in the region, including a lack of food, water, blankets, and health care workers.

"Airstrikes, shelling, and armed clashes have had a grave impacts on the civilian population," the statement said. "MSF teams witnessed the population fleeing their homes on foot and seeking safety away from the ongoing conflict."

The humanitarian organization noted that, up until this week, "MSF teams were providing healthcare and supplying water and mental health support" to people living in the region as best they could.

In early October, Donald Trump made the sudden announcement that U.S. troops would leave northern Syria to make way for a Turkish military operation. "Turkey will soon be moving forward with its long-planned operation into Northern Syria," said a White House statement on Oct. 6.

The announcement was widely seen as Trump abandoning Kurdish allies in the region who had helped the United States in the fight against ISIS for years.

Not long after that decision, Turkey launched an offensive strike against the Kurds, who it sees as enemies. Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) felt betrayed by Trump's decision.

The sudden incursion has also reportedly allowed thousands of ISIS prisoners in the region to escape and rejoin the terror network.

Trump has since condemned the invasion and subsequent military action, and pledged economic sanctions against Turkey. However, those sanctions were described by experts as "minimal" and mere "window dressing" unlikely to deter Turkey.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.