Turks surround Kurdish-held Afrin

Turkish forces said on Tuesday that had surrounded the Kurdish-held city of Afrin, the main objective of Turkey’s offensive into northwest Syria.

A statement from Ankara said the armed forces, along with allied Syrian rebel groups, had also taken control of several key areas.

A Kurdish source confirmed that all road into the city are under attack by Turkish shellfire, reported BBC News.

Reports a day before described hundreds fleeing the city to nearby areas controlled by forces loyal to the Syrian government.

Ankara considers the YPG, or People’s Protection Units, as associated with the Kurdish Workers’ Party terror group in eastern Turkey, a claim Kurds in Syria and their western allies have vehemently denied.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan launched the offensive against Syrian Kurds on Jan. 20, to much condemnation from the United States.

The Syrian Democratic Forces, considered the most effective ground-fighting force against so-called Islamic State, is led and largely made up by Kurds.

The SDF is currently pushing back the last remnants of IS, along with Syrian government forces.

Damascus sent government-loyal troops to Afrin to support the Kurds against the Turkish aggression but it is not clear what their role has been in the last few days.

Kurdish spokesperson Nouri Mahmoud told Reuters news agency that Afrin had long been surrounded on all sides by enemy forces.

The only road out of a siege that was confirmed on Tuesday by the Britain-based Syrian Observatory of Human Rights in within the range of Turkish artillery fire and therefore unusable.

The Observatory reported that the city of Afrin, 90 villages and a nearby town were under siege.

The United Nations chief told the Security Council that the battle for Afrin, which is also the name for the territory, had resulted in “significant civilian displacement” with reports of “numerous casualties and damage to infrastructure”.

Some 324,000 were living in the Kurdish enclave before the Turkish offensive launched, according to U.N. figures.

More coverage to follow. Image of forces near Afrin, Syria from Hurriyet Daily News. 

Published by

Eli Ridder

Eli Ridder is a freelance journalist. He founded The Avro Post in October 2017. He has reported for several online and print publications. Feel free to connect at ELIRIDDER@ICLOUD.COM or at ELIRIDDER.CA

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