Nearly 200 civilians have been killed in Afrin since Turkey launched its offensive on January 20. Photo: AFP
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Nearly 200 civilians have been killed in Turkey’s Operation Olive Branch on Afrin.
On Tuesday, two civilians were killed and nine injured in Jandaris town and six more civilians were injured in Bulbul town, Syria’s state media reported, expecting the casualty numbers to rise because bombardment on villages and towns continues.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights confirmed the deaths, saying they came after a “massacre” of five civilians on Monday.
Health officials in the Kurdish canton stated on Monday that 192 civilians had been killed, including women and children.
Another 574 civilians have been wounded, Angela Rasho, co-chair of Afrin’s Health Council, stated in a press conference on Monday.
She also expressed concern that more people have been killed but their bodies have not been recovered from under the rubble.
The Observatory has documented the deaths of 139 civilians, and hundreds more injured “some of them have permanent disabilities.”
Kurdish authorities have accused Turkey of deliberately targeting civilians and civilian infrastructure in their military offensive in Afrin.
Turkey has expressly denied causing any civilian casualties in its operation.
“To date, no civilians have died or even been hurt in Turkish Armed Forces operations,” Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag told state-run Anadolu Agency last week.
Turkish forces and their Syrian proxies made a significant advancement
on Monday, taking control of all of Afrin’s borders.
“Afrin has been surrounded by a crescent-like shape,” Binali Yildirim said during an address to his AK party’s parliamentary group on Tuesday, Hurriyet Daily News reported.
Turkey is now focusing on taking control of urban areas, mainly the towns of Jandaris and Rajo, and have brought in police special forces to secure territories taken by the army and Syrian proxies.
Their forces are on the outskirts of both Jandaris and Rajo, the Observatory stated.
Turkey’s Foreign Ministry denied reports that they were discussing the situation in Afrin with American officials.
“Turkey is not involved in any diplomatic talk or process with the United States regarding Afrin,” ministry spokesperson Hami Aksoy declared in a written statement.
The situation in Syria with a focus on Manbij, and competing US and Turkish interests there, will be on the agenda for the first meeting of technical committees from the two countries, scheduled for March 8 in Washington, according to Anadolu Agency.
The US and Turkey have pledged to work together
in Syria as they try to mend their fractured relationship.