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Sunday 17 November 2019

Turkish attacks kill 20 in Afrin, say Syrian Kurds

Turkish forces have nearly encircled the town in northern Syria in an effort to drive out Kurdish fighters.

Syrians fleeing fighting between Turkish troops and Syrian Kurdish militia (DHA-Depo Photos/AP)
Syrians fleeing fighting between Turkish troops and Syrian Kurdish militia (DHA-Depo Photos/AP)

By Associated Press Reporters

Turkish shelling and air strikes in the northern Syrian town of Afrin have killed at least 20 civilians, according to Syrian Kurdish forces.

Redur Khalil, a spokesman for the Syrian Democratic Forces, said 30 people were wounded as Turkish forces shelled the Ashrafieh neighbourhood on Friday.

Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitors put the death toll at 18, and released a video showing four lifeless bodies on the streets of Afrin.

Turkey-backed Free Syrian Army fighters (Hasan Kirmizitas/DHA-Depo Photos/AP)

Turkish forces have nearly encircled Afrin in an effort to drive Kurdish fighters from the town and the surrounding region.

Residents say they are facing bread, water and electricity shortages.

Hundreds of civilians were seen leaving the town to neighbouring villages on Thursday looking for relief. Tens of thousands of civilians are believed to still be inside.

The Turkish military has urged residents of the town to leave and the Syrian Kurdish militiamen to surrender to besieging Turkish forces.

Turkish aircraft earlier dropped leaflets in Arabic and Kurdish, asking residents to stay away from “terrorist positions” — a reference to the Syrian Kurdish fighters — and to not let themselves be used as “human shields”.

The leaflets claimed that civilians wanting to flee Afrin would be guaranteed safety by the Turkish military and urged Syrian Kurdish fighters to “trust the hand we extend to you”.

“Come surrender! A calm and peaceful future awaits you in Afrin,” the leaflets read.

PA Media

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