A young boy waits at a check point in the village of Anab ahead of crossing to the Turkish-backed Syrian rebels side on March 17, 2018, as civilians flee the city of Afrin. Photo: Bulent Kilic | AFP
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — Eleven people trying to flee from Afrin and into the northern Aleppo countryside were killed by warplanes, a UK-based conflict monitor reported on Saturday, as UN officials say more than 300,000 men, women, and children need protection in Afrin.
"The situation is really, really, awful for the people inside and there is no guarantee ... unfortunately. Our primary concern is for the
protection of civilians," Linda Tom, an OCHA public information officer told Rudaw on Friday."
The UN organ does not have a presence in Afrin, but relies on "people inside who are providing information."
"We know there are more than 300,000 people in Afrin district — regular men, women, and children who are in need of protection and humanitarian assistance," added Tom.
She says the UN is concerned about shortages on basics like water, food, and electricity.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported 11 fleeing civilians died in an airstrike targeting cars and tractors.
More than 200,000 people have fled Afrin city towards the areas of Nabuls and Zahra, according to the monitor.
Turkey denies targeting civilians.
The Observatory raised the civilian death toll to "more than 281 civilians" in Afrin, since Turkey began its assault on Afrin on January 20.
The UN wants to provide humanitarian access to Afrin.
"We stand ready to provide assistance immediately. We are calling on all parties to provide access so that we can provide assistance to people inside Syria. We are ready to do that and do that immediately," said Tom.
Ahmed Ramadan, the head of the media office for the Syrian National Coalition, revealed what he believes will happen when Turkey finishes its operation.
“A local council will be elected and the governance of the region will be returned to its people through the elected council. No outside party will govern Afrin … the Syrian Interim Government and Turkey will provide full assistance," Ramadan told Rudaw.
Abdulbasit Hamo, the deputy leader of SNC also talked to Rudaw.
"The people of Afrin are the people of their country. They have to return to their soil and life. The Coalition’s general decision is that Afrin people should govern themselves and [decide about] their lives. If any such a thing [demographic change] occurs, of course positions will be declared on the matter," said Hamo.
Haitham al-Maleh, also a member of the SNC told Rudaw "Syrians own all of Syria."
"A great number of Syrian people have come to Turkey as refugees. Turkey calls them 'guests.' These people should return to their areas. I believe Turkey is working towards this [aim]. But if some people are from the area [Afrin] they as Syrians will return as guests," said Maleh.
The Turkish Armed Forces increased the number of "terrorists neutralized to 3,569" on Saturday.
it was responsible for the deaths of 16 civilians at Avrin City Hospital on Friday night. Local news agencies, Kurdish officials, and a humanitarian group in Afrin are blaming Turkey.