Kurdish forces claim they evacuated Afrin to avoid a humanitarian disaster

“In order to avoid a big humanitarian disaster, we have decided for the evacuation of civilians from the city,” said the Kurdish local administration of Afrin on Sunday, after the Turkish military claimed to have taken control of most of the city.

The Democratic Autonomous Administration of Afrin Canton held a press conference and issued a statement, published by the Kurdish news agency ANF.

The Kurdish forces also vowed to continue the resistance in Afrin "until every inch is liberated”, noting that they have forces deployed everywhere in Afrin and threatening Turkey that those forces will “inflict a blow to Turkish and Free Syrian Army (FSA) forces in their own base”.

“YPG chose tactically to withdraw from the city centre, the withdrawal continued till early Sunday morning, and Turkish Armed Forces and FSA entered the centre afterwards,” told an anonymous local source to BBC Turkish.

Salih Muslim, the former co-chair of the Syrian-Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) also posted a tweet on Sunday morning, reading “Withdrawal from one battle doesn't mean loss of war or giving up the struggle”.

Turkish President Erdoğan ordered Turkish forces into Afrin in January to attack the YPG, which he says is indistinguishable from the PKK. The PKK, recognised as terrorists by the United States and European Union, has fought a three-decade war for autonomy from Turkey at the cost of 40,000 lives, most of them Kurdish.

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