More and more civilians getting killed in Afrin

by Wladimir van Wilgenburg    


The Kurdish Red Crescent and the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) on Sunday said that again civilians were killed in recent attacks of the Turkish army on Afrin. The Turkish army and Syrian rebels have claimed to have advanced amidst improving weather conditions.

A doctor of the Kurdish Red Crescent on Sunday told the Region that 3 civilians were killed in the Kobale village near the Rubar camp.

“3 died until now. 7 injured (4 of them are children). There are still undiscovered bodies,” the official said.

Also the media centre of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said civilians were killed in air strikes in the village of Khalil near Rajo.

“Turkish invasion army commits a horrific massacre against the civilians in Khalil village in Rajo district this morning. The Turkish army killed a number of civilians during raids on Haj Khalil village. Also the Turkish jets bombed Belbeleh district which resulted in death and injury of some civilians in the district,” the SDF said in a statement received by the Region.

According to the Kurdish journalist Can Êzîdxelo who is originally from Afrin, civilians were hit hard on Sunday.‏

“3 massacres since this morning. Gundê Xelîl in Shiyê, Bilbilê town and Rûbar refugees camp. TSK jets are still bombing civilians. Also Meydankê dam got damaged after the airstrikes today, engineers can't get there yet,” he said on his Twitter account.

According to the Syrian Observatory of Human Rights at least 42 civilians were killed since Turkey launched the attacks on 20 January, including 12 children and 7 women.

“The increased number of the civilian casualties was accompanied by increasing the number of casualties in the ranks of the conflicted parties, which are the YPG on one hand, and the forces of the “Olive Branch” Operation on the other,” the SOHR said.

Also UNICEF confirmed that that at least eleven children killed and many more injured in ongoing violence in Afrin district, north-west Syria.

“In Afrin, families are fleeing to other areas within the district, seeking protection in camps already crowded with over 125,000 previously displaced people, living in shockingly difficult conditions and exposed to harsh winter weather,” Fran Equiza, UNICEF Representative in Syria said on Friday.

“People attempting to flee the area in search of safety, have reportedly been prevented from leaving Afrin. Violence is reported to be so intense that families are confined to the basements of their buildings,” he added.

“Wars have laws and these laws are being broken every single day in Syria. Once again, UNICEF reminds all parties to the conflict of their obligations to protect children at all times,” he stated.

The Afrin Health Council estimates that 50 civilians, mostly women and children, have been killed since Turkish bombardments on #Afrin, while 137 other civilians were wounded, local Kurdish news agency ANHA reported.

So far, the Turkish government has instructed the Turkish media to not report on civilian casualties that were a result of the Turkish attacks on Afrin and also the Turkish army denied civilians were killed.

Moreover, journalists were provided with directives not to report on Afrin in a manner that the Turkish Government deemed "insensitive", and so far three journalists and 100 social media users were arrested, the OSCE said last Friday.

“The Turkish army commits war crimes by targeting unarmed civilians in Afrin, leaving brutal massacres against innocents,” YPG spokesperson Nouri Mahmoud told The Region last week.