Families Flee Idlib and Find Help in Northeastern Syria
11 February 2020
Thank you from northeastern Syria where we are helping families who are fleeing the fighting at Idlib. Over 500,000 people have fled Idlib since December and more keep trying to escape the fighting.
Last week, 21 families fled into the Manbij area of northeastern Syria which is under the control of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). The SDF is a joint Kurdish, Christian, Yezidi and Arab force that has been fighting ISIS. They were a key US friend and ally until the US broke its promise and allowed the Turks and their jihadist proxies, the Free Syrian Army (FSA), to attack them. Over 200,000 people were displaced in the zone of invasion and ethnic cleansing. Hundreds were killed, including our cameraman and medic, Zau Seng.
The SDF still fights ISIS and coordinates with the US and coalition forces in the oil-rich areas south of the invasion zone. Manbij, the western-most city under SDF control, is now one of the places that people go to as they flee the Syrian/Russian/Iranian attacks on Idlib. Most of the defenders in Idlib are jihadis, such as Al-Nusra and remnants of ISIS, and are supported by Turkey. However, many people there were part of the initial revolt against President Assad of Syria and many are not combatants but were caught in the middle of the fight.
Earlier this month, the SDF announced that these people were welcome to seek sanctuary in the SDF areas. Since then, over 1,000 have fled Idlib to the SDF areas of Manbij, Raqqa, and Tabqa. Manbij is a main crossing area in the west and there are critical shortages of food and medicine for the new arrivals. On Feb. 8 and in the middle of a snowstorm, our team delivered a two-week supply of food to the 21 new families of around 200 people. They are now building a new camp 27 kilometers south of Manbij to house the new arrivals. The SDF expect over 5,000 more people to come and need help to feed, care for, and shelter them.
Thank you for your prayers and help and how you care.
God bless you,
Dave, family and FBR