Growing calls for aid to thousands displaced in Turkey’s Afrin offensive

World Today

SYRIA-TURKEY-CONFLICT-AFRINCivilians, fleeing the city of Afrin in northern Syria, are seen arriving in the village of az-Ziyarah, an area that is jointly held by Kurds and the Syrian regime in the northern Aleppo province, on March 19, 2018. (GEORGE OURFALIAN / AFP)

Some Kurds are celebrating the Persian New Year with calls for resistance in Syria’s Afrin region. Thousands have been driven from their homes by a Turkish offensive, and are not able to return.

CGTN’s Michal Bardavid reports.
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Turkish officials said they have established aid distribution centers in 29 locations in and around Afrin to help civilians caught in the conflict. Officials said the items include enough food and personal care products to help families for a month.

Earlier this week, the U.N. announced that approximately 100,000 civilians were trapped in rural areas of Afrin and in need of humanitarian aid. Turkish forces, together with Syrian rebel fighters, took control of the city center on Sunday. They have been sweeping for mines and explosives believed to have been left by YPG militants.

Meanwhile, Germany expressed strong criticism over Turkey’s offensive in Afrin.

“Let me say in this context, that what is happening in Afrin, where thousands and thousands of civilians are persecuted, are dying or having to flee, is unacceptable, no matter what security interests Turkey has,” Chancellor Angela Merkel said. “We also condemn this in the strongest terms.”

Also on Wednesday, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said that Turkey and the U.S. have reached an “understanding,” not an agreement, regarding the Syrian city of Manbij. The U.S. has about 2,000 troops stationed there to support the YPG in their against ISIL, but Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had threatened to expand his offensive to that area.

The details of the understanding have not been released.