SDF: Turkish State is attacking Afrin from a densely populated IDP camp in Atmeh

by Wladimir van Wilgenburg   UConn  


The Syrian Democratic Forces, on Friday, accused Turkey of launching attacks against Afrin from areas in close proximity to Atmeh camp, the oldest and largest camp for Internally displaced persons' (IDP's) on the Syria, Turkey border. 

"Since the morning hours, the Turkish Army and its jihadist factions have transferred heavy weapons and artillery closer to the camp" the statement produced by the Syrian Democratic Forces media office reads.

"After repositioning themselves, they have begun to indiscriminately shell the villages of Malla Khalil, Deir Ballut, Aqchalah, and the city centre of Jinderes" the SDF Media Office wrote. 

Atmeh, which is located in Idlib, has a total of 15,000 shelters in size, as claimed by the last  United Nations Institute for Training and Research satellite report. The Syrian opposition has been unable to provide resources for the camp, the United Nations has been barred from operating in the camp by the Syrian government, and Turkey monitors the camp "mainly to contain rather than intervene" according to Joshua Hersh, who covered the camp in the fall 2014 issue of the VQR journal of literature and discussion.

“Many shells which landed on aforementioned villages, were coming from the Atmeh IDP camp. It seems that Turkey and its terrorists have moved to a new stage of its brutality against Afrin by taking the displaced people in the camp as human shields,” the SDF statement added

"Turkey is using the Atmeh camp for Syrian refugees as a cover from which to bomb the centre of Jindares in Afrin with tanks and missiles,” Sihanok Dibo, an advisor to the Democratic Union Party (PYD) presidency said in response to shelling from Atmeh.

“It is a war crime and a crime against humanity. Syrian blood is reaching the UN headquarters, the security council, the Islamic Cooperation and the Arab League. Has deafness among you reached this point?” he concluded.

The Turkish air force on Thursday resumed heavy airstrikes on Afrin after a three-day pause, and one day after Turkish-backed rebels shot down a Russian jet on 3 February. In the airstrike, Amina Shahin (50) was killed.