Concerns grow for civilians in Afrin

Concerns are rising over the safety of civilians in Afrin’s main city as Turkish forces close in, United Arab Emirates paper The National reports.   

On Saturday Turkish forces approached to within two miles of the city, said Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The city's population has increased since Turkey’s military operation in Afrin began on Jan. 20th, as thousands of civilians fleeing fighting in outlying areas have sought shelter there.

The Turkish offensive, codenamed "Operation Olive Branch", made slow progress initially but has accelerated since the capture of Jandairis, a town a dozen miles south-west of Afrin city, on March 8th.

Fears for the fate of civilians trapped by the fighting have grown since Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said that Turkish forces and their Free Syrian Army (FSA) allies intend to take control of the city, raising the prospect of urban fighting in a densely populated area.

Mr Abdel Rahman voiced "major concerns" for the civilians trapped in Afrin city, whose only route out leads to government-controlled areas of Syria's northern province of Aleppo.

More than 200 civilians have died so far in “Operation Olive Branch” according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. The Turkish government disputes the figures.
This block is broken or missing. You may be missing content or you might need to enable the original module.