A boy passes through the village of Anab northwest of Afrin city after Turkey said its army and allied rebels surrounded the capital on March 13, 2018. Photo: Nazeer al-Khatib | AFP
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — Eleven more civilians were killed on Tuesday in Turkey's assault on Afrin, while those who remain in the besieged city are facing food shortages, amid what the defending Kurdish force is calling a “genocidal removal of our people.”
Locals told the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights that many bakeries "are no longer functional after the Turkish shelling of areas in Afrin city."
Civilians are queuing at the surviving bread shops "waiting to get bread which started to get scarce" after people from some 90 villages have packed into the canton's capital, according to the UK-based Observatory.
Turkish war planes killed two civilians on the Jandaris-Afrin road, while the Observatory continues to document the cause of death of nine civilians in Maabatli Township in the western countryside.
These deaths, which the Observatory has documented, increase the civilian death toll to 215 in the seven-week Turkish operation.
Water and electricity supplies continue to be interrupted since Turkish forces took the strategic Mikanki hydroelectric dam on March 7, the UN humanitarian office (OCHA) reported.
Turkish officials deny targeting civilians, claiming the Olive Branch operation aims to "neutralize terrorists" from its borders. Through Tuesday the Turkish Armed Forces stated "3,400 terrorists have been neutralized."
"Afrin would have already fallen if we had targeted civilians," said Turkish President Recap Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday, according to Anadolu Agency.
The UN is "concerned" with so many people living in close quarters.
"Apparently, many females experience difficulties when attempting to undertake the necessary hygiene arrangements. Women also face compromises when seeking to feed their babies in privacy," wrote OCHA in a March 13 report.
As the Turkish military and the Free Syrian Army (FSA) groups advance through outlying sub-districts like Tel Refat, people continue to flee.
"Tens of thousands of IDPs remain in Afrin, with reports that the authorities are preventing large scale movement of civilians out of the district," wrote OCHA.
Erdogan further claimed on Tuesday, according to AA, that the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) were using civilians as human shields and murdering children.
The YPG has denied such claims.
On Tuesday, the YPG' Afrin Campaign stated Erdogan's forces and proxies are using "fascist practices."
"The aim from the beginning was the genocidal removal of our people," wrote the YPG, a mixed, Kurdish-led force also comprised of Armenian Christians, Arabs and other components.