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Hundreds killed in Afrin, including civilians, says Russia

By Rudaw 31/1/2018
A boy injured by a Turkish airstrike is carried by his brother after receiving treatment in Afrin hospital on Tuesday. Photo: Delil Souleiman/AFP
A boy injured by a Turkish airstrike is carried by his brother after receiving treatment in Afrin hospital on Tuesday. Photo: Delil Souleiman/AFP
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – The death toll in Turkey’s military operation in Afrin stands at several hundred, according to Russia’s Foreign Ministry, which denied “betraying” the Kurds in northern Syria, hinting that the blame lies with the United States. 

Hundreds have been killed and civilians are among the dead, Maria Zakharova, foreign ministry spokesperson, said in a press conference on Wednesday.

According to conflict monitor Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, at least 67 civilians, including 20 children and 12 women, have been killed in 11 days of Turkey’s “Operation Olive Branch.” Another 185 have been injured.

The Observatory reported the deaths of at least 91 Kurdish YPG forces and other local fighters, as well as at least nine Turkish soldiers. Additionally, the Observatory stated that 85 of Turkey's Free Syrian Army (FSA) proxy fighters have been killed.

Ankara denies that any civilians have been killed.

“No civilian has been harmed in Operation Olive Branch” by Turkish forces or their allied Syrian militias, Turkey’s National Defence Minister Nurettin Canikli said on Tuesday, according to state-run Anadolu Agency. 

While denying civilian casualties, he accused Kurdish forces in Afrin of using civilians as human shields and asserted that the lack of deaths among the civilian population showed Turkey’s “sincerity and sensitivity.”

Zakharova said Russia is seriously concerned about the situation in northern Syria and urged all parties to show restraint. 

'Not us' creating conditions that Turkey deems threatening

Responding to accusations that Russia had betrayed Kurds by not preventing Turkey’s operation, she implied the United States should carry responsibility. 

“We would like to note that it was not us who consistently created the conditions in northern Syria that Turkey considered a threat to its national security. We are not responsible for impeding the restoration of legitimate Syrian government’s control in that region,” she stated.

Ankara has repeatedly condemned US support for the Kurdish forces in Syria and has claimed that weapons given to the YPG for the war against ISIS are being used against Turkey. Turkey’s ire was most recently stoked when the United States announced it was forming a border force in northern Syria, though US officials subsequently walked back that statement.

“It was not us who has been building up forces in these areas to perform functions that belong solely to the Syrian state, and thus inciting separatism,” Zakharova stated. 

She stressed Russia’s commitment to Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity must be respected. 

Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke by phone with Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday. They discussed the Sochi peace conference and “further coordination of efforts by Russia and Turkey to maintain the stable operation of the de-escalation zones,” the Kremlin stated. 

Turkey’s operation continues. Its armed forces reported airstrikes destroyed 22 targets in Afrin. The Kurdish-led SDF reported that at least 12 injured civilians were brought to Afrin hospital on Wednesday and alleged Turkey was using “unconventional weapons.”

Sinam Mohamad, foreign representative for the Rojava administration of Kurdish-held northern Syria, reported on Tuesday that Turkey had used “internationally banned cluster bombs” on villages in the Jandaris area of southwest Afrin. 

A political and media advisor to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said that “Turkish and US invading forces” will “replace terrorism in northern Syria,” according to state-run SANA news agency. Bouthaina Shaaban said these outside actors mobilized their forces when the Syrian regime began to win the “battle against terrorism on Syrian soil.”

In Turkey’s Hatay province, which borders western Afrin, a 17-year-old girl was killed by a rocket launched from Syria on Wednesday, AFP reported, citing Turkish officials. 


Updated at 7:16 pm


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good night wladimir erdogan | 31/1/2018
The part of kurdish syria where the us are the supporter isnt under attack. only the part of the russians. the problem are not the us. the russians blame the ypg which doesnt want assads control. the russians and assad allowed turky to attack. this way assad must not send his troops.
help the kurds | 1/2/2018
The Kurds done nothing to be attacked by Turkey. Mabey Russia should shoot down one of Turkeys plane like they shot down one of yours.
guest2002 | 1/2/2018
Russians need to just shut up and go to hell.because they gave those Turkish savages the green light to invade.hence ,they are responsible as well!!! Same goes for the US,EU,and NATO members who have sided with those ISIS loving Turkish jihadis!!!
duroi | 1/2/2018
Let's blame family of Talabani for betraying KRG referendum project, out of blind rivalry and short-sightedness and endangering parallel federalism project in Rojava which was benefiting from KRG referendum domino effect. Naivety of Kurds to trust outsiders played a key role in these betrayals and public warnings were ignored to negotiate the best deals "before" agreeing to join to defeat ISIS in Mosul/Raqqa (i.e. KRG agreement to control Kirkuk-Khanaqin was fake and Rojava not pushing for control of Qabasin before Raqqa). West still needs KRG's leverage on Iran and on Baghdad, while the Kurds in Syria who have served their main purpose to eliminate ISIS are now out of luck in west of Eupherates. The current foolish confrontation between YPG and FSA groups 'is disigned' to weaken both in order for Damascus to advance and dominate both Idlib and Afrin. But both Russia and NATO are discounting the possibility of YPG withdrawing from south of 36N Par in Syria to defend Afrin, and ISIS genie getting out of the bottle again. The system is likely to slip to that state as the natural af'er-shock to NATO/Russia Afrin-shock ...
ANTIFA -INDIFADA | 17/2/2018
the main loss that the war in syria ocured is than a lot of people lost their family, friends and their neighborhoods because the great capitalistic forces decided to play chess over dead bodies for once again in human history, but they should fear of them..because those who have nothing to loose they are fear-less IMMIGRANTS WELCOME FROM SIDE TO SIDE OF THIS FUCKING BLOODY WORLD!

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