After continued and heavy shelling since Wednesday…the Turkish forces and the factions of Operation “Olive Branch” take the control of about half of the city of Afrin
Aleppo Province – The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights: the violent clashes continue this morning, Sunday the 18th of March 2018, between the Turkish forces and their allied rebel and Islamic factions against the YPG and the Self-Defense Forces, in areas inside Afrin city in ongoing attack by the Turkish forces and the factions to take the control of the entire city of Afrin, after they managed under a cover of heavy aerial and rocket shelling, to go deep into the city and take the control of neighborhoods inside it in both northern and western sectors, where the Turkish forces became in control of the half of the city, where they are continuing their attempts to achieve further advancement and impose their full control over the city after the heavy and intensive shelling by the Turkish forces and warplanes since Wednesday, and Afrin city witnessed last night aerial and artillery shelling on areas in it, and other areas in its countryside, where the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitored artillery and aerial bombardment by the Turkish forces and their drones and warplanes targeted several areas in the city and its outskirts, in conjunction with violent clashes continuous clashes between the Self-Defense Forces and YPG against the Turkish forces and the rebel and Islamic factions, in an attempt by the Turkish forces to go deep in the city and control it, amid constant fears for the lives of the remaining and for the lives of thousands of citizens who are still in the city, of the Turkish shelling that resulted in a massacre that killed 8 people; it rose to 289 including 43 children and 28 citizens, the number of civilians of the al-Kurds, Arabs and Armenians, who were killed in the Turkish aerial, artillery and missile shelling, and in executions against several citizens in Afrin area since the 20th of January 2018, also the shelling injured hundreds of citizens with varying severity.
And the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights learned that 1500 fighters at least of the YPG and the Self-Defense forces, were killed since Operation “Olive Branch” started on the 20th of January 2018, until now, while clashes are accompanied with renewed shelling which caused more human losses, where it rose to 496 including 78 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 91 members at least of regime forces’ NDF were killed in the Turkish shelling since they started to enter on the 20th of February 2018.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights received a video showing a fighter of the factions of “Olive Branch” Operation talking to an old woman –who stayed in her village- in which he made fun of her, and he ended his talk –talking to the woman- after promising to reach Iraq, saying: “you need a country.. you need to slayed from here”, also the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights received copies of audio recordings of commanders and members of the factions operating in the “Olive Branch” Forces; threatening to go to Manbij and the Syrian Jazeerah and reach al-Ya’rubiyah Crossing in the Syrian-Turkish-Iraqi border triangle when they are done with Afrin, while clashes are accompanied with renewed shelling which caused more human losses, also the SOHR obtained a copy of a video shot by a member of “Olive Branch” Operation Forces, in which he said that he is in Al-Shiekh Hadid town, which was confirmed by sourced to the Observatory. The fighter said in this video: “this is the fully liberated Sheikh Hadid free of separatist terrorist, and I urge the brothers and displaced people, who were displaced from Al-Raqqa, Al-Tabqa and other areas controlled by the separatist betrayals, to come and take a house with an olive land”. This video comes after other videos obtained by the SOHR which show fighters of Operation “Olive Branch” threatening the inhabitants of Afrin, directing their message through one of the fighters who said “to the Kurdish infidels, we inform you that if you turn to God in repentance, you have to know that you are our brothers, but if you do not, then we see your heads have been ripe and we have come to pick them up”, and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights mentioned that the video is likely to be filmed in the Sheikh Hadid area in the western countryside of Afrin, from one of the villages controlled by Turkish forces and the rebel and Islamic factions. Afrin area has witnessed similar calls from other to settle Syrian people displaced from other provinces inside these villages.