Turkey’s devastating October campaign has caused severe and lasting damage to the fragile humanitarian infrastructure of the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES), leaving the population without adequate fuel, electricity and water as winter approaches, according to a recent Rojava Information Centre (RIC) report.
Turkey launched a heavy and systematic bombing campaign in the Kurdish-led de facto autonomous regions of Syria on the night of 4 October. The campaign resulted in 48 deaths, including nine civilians, and 47 injuries, including 15 civilians.
As outlined in the report, Turkey’s military offensive included 25 warplanes and 64 drone strikes, deliberately targeting vital installations including oil fields, power plants, water stations, a hospital, gas producing stations and industrial sites. This was Ankara’s most egregious military escalation in northeastern Syria since 2019, leaving vital infrastructure in ruins and rendering electricity and water supplies to homes, IDP camps, hospitals, bakeries, mills, pharmacies and schools inoperable.
The impact on the civilian population is profound, and while makeshift solutions have allowed for a relatively quick restoration of basic humanitarian services, AANES lacks the economic and logistical capacity to fully restore all infrastructure, even with the support of various NGOs operating in the region. As a result, the impact will be long-lasting, the RIC predicts.
The people of North and East have faced continuous air and ground attacks, deteriorating economic conditions, water cuts and acute shortages of essential goods since 2012, when the autonomy movement in Syria’s northern regions began, followed by the establishment of AANES in 2018. The already precarious humanitarian and infrastructure situation in the region prior to Turkey’s escalation has exacerbated the impact of Turkey’s recent airstrikes.
The RIC report also takes a closer look at the impact of Turkey’s attacks on the fight against the Islamic State (ISIS) and on efforts to combat drug trafficking in the region.
Looking further afield, the report examines Turkey’s use of F-16 fighter jets in the context of a possible imminent sale of such aircraft from the United States to Turkey. It also examines the Global Coalition’s response to Turkey’s attacks and raises concerns about possible violations of international law, with allegations that Turkey may be committing war crimes in North and East Syria.