World Bulletin / News Desk
Kennedy said several national and international nongovernmental organizations and the United Nations had delivered humanitarian assistance to war-torn Syrians.
Kennedy underlined Turkey’s cooperation in getting help to Syria, saying that without Turkey’s help “we would be in very difficult circumstances both inside Turkey and across the border.”
Praising the Turkish government and people’s hospitality towards Syrians, Kennedy called Turkey’s role “critical”.
“It’s been critical to our work in the region that these people are hosted so well by the [Turkish] government and [Turkish] people.”
Asked about setting up safe zones inside Syria -- an idea long championed by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan -- Kennedy said these must be “untouchable areas” and would only work when “planes are not flying over your head” and NGOs can operate freely.
Kennedy also said any opportunity to provide assistance and have access to these war-torn areas would be beneficial.
Turkey hosts more Syrian refugees than any other country in the world. The country has spent around $25 billion helping and sheltering refugees since the beginning of the Syrian civil war.
Since late August, when Turkey’s Operation Euphrates Shield began to rid Syria's northern border area of terrorists, the Turkish government and many Turkish NGOs, including the Turkish Red Crescent, have been aiding refugees living not only in Turkey, but also in crisis-hit border areas inside Syria.
Syria has been locked in a vicious civil war since early 2011, when the Bashar al-Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests -- which erupted as part of the Arab Spring uprisings -- with unexpected ferocity.
Since then, more than a quarter-million people have been killed and more than 10 million displaced across the war-battered country, according to the UN.
The Syrian Center for Policy Research, however, put the death toll from the six-year conflict at more than 470,000 people.