Refugees from Efrin trapped between the fronts

From 3 to 10 April 2018 around 1,000 families were stuck between the fronts near the city of Efrin. With around four to five hundred vehicles they were located on a road between the troops of the Syrian regime and the PYD in the south, and the Turkish-controlled region around Efrin in the north. According to contacts in country, on 10 April around half of the people concerned was able to leave the area but the situation of the remaining ones is still worsening. 

The internally displaced persons are located south-east of Efrin between the villages of Butj al Qalas and Sorhana in the north and Kimar in the south. The civilians originate from Efrin and the villages around the city. During the fighting for Efrin they had fled to the area controlled by the Syrian regime and the PYD. Now that the fighting has stopped and the city is controlled by Turkish troops, they wanted to return to their homes for fear of looting.

On the one hand, their entry into the city of Efrin and the surrounding villages has been denied by the Turkish troops and the troops of the Free Syrian Army. At the front line in the north, harassment and violent incidences are reported. On the other hand, the Syrian regime and the PYD do not allow a return to southern areas. According to local sources, some young men were arrested and forcibly recruited at the checkpoints of the Syrian regime.

The displaced people have very limited access to water and food. Communication with them is difficult. Before 10 April the permission to leave the zone was only given to two pregnant women and the corpse of an elderly person.

The Turkish authorities had pledged to ensure the unhindered return of civilians to the city of Efrin and the surrounding areas. The current situation contradicts this commitment.