Friday, 22 March, 2019

Erdogan: Turkish troops to enter Afrin at any moment

Erdogan: Turkish troops to enter Afrin at any moment Erdogan: Turkish troops to enter Afrin at any moment
Patty Aguilar | 18 March, 2018, 02:01

Late Friday, a Turkish bombing raid struck the city's main hospital, killing 16 civilians, the Observatory said.

A Turkish air strike hit the main hospital in Syria's Afrin town on Friday night, killing nine people, the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

The Britain-based watchdog added that about 10,000 people, including hundreds of women and children, had left the enclave via Hamouriya crossing on Saturday morning.

Eastern Ghouta has been split into three parts - the largest rebel-held town of Douma to the north has been cut off from nearby Harasta, and both have been split off from the rest of the area.

"It was the only functioning hospital in Afrin city", he said.

Tens of thousands have taken to the roads with their belongings, as Russia-backed regime fighters push deeper into rebel Eastern Ghouta outside the capital and Turkey-led forces press an assault in the Kurdish enclave of Afrin.

In its month-long assault, the Syrian military has marched into much of eastern Ghouta, the last major insurgent bastion around Damascus.

Airstrikes in Syria killed more than 100 people Friday as civilians fled besieged areas for the second straight day and as Syrian government forces stepped up their offensive in the rebel-held eastern suburbs of the capital, Damascus.

Moscow's strikes also killed a dozen rebels from the Faylaq al-Rahman faction controlling the area, including two top commanders, the monitor said.

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The Turkish military has pushed the YPG militia back from the border and almost encircled it with advances on the western and eastern flanks of Afrin town.

Since their January offensive began, Turkish forces have almost encircled Afrin as they press their campaign to drive the Syrian Kurdish fighters from the town and surrounding region, where tens of thousands of civilians are still believed trapped.

The United Nations has called for urgent medical evacuations for more than 1,000 people who desperately need medical treatment outside the besieged area.

The Observatory says it determines whose planes carry out raids according to type, location, flight patterns and munitions used, but Russian Federation on Friday denied its jets were taking part in the Ghouta operation. The army said in a statement that the Syrian Kurdish People's Protection Units, or YPG, were trying to create a "negative perception" of the Turkish military. The Observatory said 16 people were killed in the hospital, including two pregnant women.

"Queues of anxious families stretching for several hundred metres streamed towards the last remaining exit in the city's south on Friday, as the Turkish military and members of an Arab proxy force, which it mobilised seven weeks ago, consolidated positions they had gradually taken since Monday", the newspaper said.

When the Turks launched its offensive against a Kurdish militia in January, Erdogan said that the operation would be completed in "a very short time".

"Afrin is being exterminated and destroyed".

Bilginsoy reported from Istanbul.

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