As Turkey attacks, hundreds of families flee Syrian town of Afrin

WION Web Team
Syria Published: Mar 16, 2018, 10:24 AM(IST)

People sit in a truck with their belongings in the north east of Afrin, Syria. Photograph:( Reuters )

Hundreds of families fled the Syrian town of Afrin towards nearby villages held by pro-Syrian government forces overnight as Turkish forces shelled the town, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

Turkish forces and allied Syrian militias are targeting Afrin in an offensive against the Kurdish YPG militia in northwestern Syria.

The Observatory said families left the town in buses and cars towards Nubl and al-Zahra, Shi'ite Muslim villages that are loyal to the government of President Bashar al-Assad. The Syrian government has sided with the YPG against Turkey in Afrin.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Friday that more than 12,000 people left Syria's rebel-held eastern Ghouta on Thursday.

He also said that any threat from the United States to strike the Syrian capital Damascus would be unacceptable.

The Observatory said Russian jets carried out the strikes, citing its activist network on the ground. Advancing Syrian government forces have splintered eastern Ghouta into three enclaves in an offensive that has been underway for a month.

The latest wave of air strikes hit the southern most enclave of eastern Ghouta, from which thousands of civilians fled on Thursday into government-held territory.

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