Fears of besieging more than one million people in Afrin area by the Turkish forces after they become 12 km away from Afrin city
The regime forces tighten the grip on the citizens of Afrin and imaginary sums imposed by their checkpoints on those who flee from the clashes and shelling on the area to Aleppo
Aleppo Province – The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights: the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitored the continuation of the violent fighting on Afrin area, accompanied by intensive aerial, artillery and rocket shelling on the area, where the clashes between the Turkish forces and the rebel and Islamic factions against the YPG and the Self-Defense Forces, are concentrated in areas in the western, north-western and north-eastern countryside of Afrin, in an ongoing violent attack by the forces of the “Olive Branch” Operation in an attempt to achieve further advancement in the area and take the control of more areas, where the Turkish forces managed to achieve advancement in Bafalyun area, where they became at a distance of about 12 km from Afrin city, and this is the nearest position to be reached by the forces of the “Olive Branch” Operation since the start of their attack on the 20th of January 2018, the Syrian Observatory also monitored ongoing violent clashes in Raju town and surrounding villages, in an attempt by the Turkish forces to impose and hold their full control over the area, which is witnessing counter attacks by the Kurdish forces, the Turkish forces also managed to enter Sheikh Hadid town located in the western countryside of Afrin, and this is the third town to be entered by the Turkish forces and the factions after Bulbula town which they controlled few weeks ago and Raju town which they controlled large parts of, during the past 72 hours, and the Turkish forces managed to advance and take the control of 3 new villages in the north-eastern and the western countryside of Afrin.
These violent clashes are accompanied by hundreds of aerial, rocket and artillery strikes which targeted areas in Raju and Sheikh Hadid as well as Afrin countryside, which caused further destruction and material damage to the property of the citizens and to the infrastructure, while it has increased to 88 villages and only one town (Bulbula), with a percentage of about 25% of the total villages of Afrin, and the Turkish forces managed to reach the outskirts of the strategic towns of Jendires and Raju, and only few hundreds of meters remain for them to reach Jendires town after the forces of the “Olive Branch” Operation managed to achieve strategic advancement 6 days ago, and linked the controlled areas of the factions and the Turkish forces operating in the “Euphrates Shield” Operation in the northern and the north-eastern countryside of Aleppo, Idlib province and the western countryside of Aleppo, through a border line stretched from the north and west of Afrin, and reaches areas mentioned above.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights obtained information from several reliable sources, confirmed that there are significant difficulties about the displacement of he citizens from Afrin area to the regime’s controlled areas in Aleppo, where the checkpoints of the regime forces and gunmen loyal to them impose tributes range from 1000$ to 2200$ on a single person, in return for allowing him cross towards Aleppo city, amid fear of trapping more than one million people of the residents of Afrin area and those who have displaced to it during the past few months and years from different Syrian areas.
And this fighting accompanied by intensive exchange of targeting and aerial and rocket shelling, raised the death toll in the ranks of the both conflicting parties, where it has increased to 320 including 59 soldiers of the Turkish forces, the number of the members and fighters of the Turkish forces and the factions who were killed in the clashes against the Kurdish Units in Afrin area, while it rose to 295, the number of fighters of the YPG and the Self-Defense forces who were killed in the shelling and clashes in Afrin countryside, also hundreds of citizens, fighters and soldiers were injured with different severity, some of them have permanent disabilities, while the SOHR documented the death of 58 members at least of the regime’s popular forces as a result of the Turkish aerial and artillery shelling, and the SOHR also documented the death of 149 citizens including 27 children and 20 women, who were killed in the Turkish aerial, rocket and artillery shelling, and executions carried out against citizens in Afrin area, since the 20th of January 2018, while hundreds others were injured with varying severity, some of them have permanent disabilities.
Link of a high resolution map shows the distribution of the conflicting powers in Afrin area and the advancement of the forces of the “Olive Branch” Operation in the area located in the north-west of Aleppo