Turkey's Syria incursion displaces over 300,000: Monitor
Iran Press TV
Thu Oct 17, 2019 10:33AM
Turkey's offensive against Kurdish-controlled areas of northeastern Syria has displaced over 300,000 people, a report says.
Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Thursday that the rise in the number of people forced to flee was due to a fresh wave of displacement over the past few days from areas around Tal Abyad and Kobane and in Hasakeh province.
He said that most displaced people tried to move in with relatives in safer areas, some were sleeping rough in orchards and others in some of the 40 schools that have been turned into emergency shelters.
On Thursday, the ninth day of the onslaught, Turkish forces heavily pounded areas in the border town of Ras al-Ayn. The UK-based group also said that Turkish forces had taken control of half of the Kurdish town.
"There have been intensive airstrikes on Ras al-Ain over the past three days," Abdel Rahman said.
In the meantime, Syrian government forces are expanding their presence in the northern cities to prevent the Turkish army from gaining ground. The troops have entered several cities and towns which used to be under the control of the Kurds, sending a wave of delight across the region.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Thursday that Germany would not deliver any weapons to Turkey under current circumstances, adding that she had urged Turkey several times to end its military offensive in northern Syria.
"In recent days I have strongly urged Turkey ... to end its military operation against the Kurdish military and I'm stressing that again now," Merkel told Germany's lower house of parliament.
"It's a humanitarian drama with huge geopolitical effects so Germany will not deliver any weapons to Turkey under the current conditions," she added.
Meanwhile, Turkish Defense Ministry said Thursday that more than 673 members of the Kurdish militants were killed during the Turkish offensive in northern Syria.
"During the military operation (spring of peace) in northern Syria, the Turkish army killed more than 673 elements of terrorist militants belonging to different Kurdish organizations," the ministry said in a statement.
On October 9, Turkish military forces and Ankara-backed militants launched a long-threatened cross-border invasion of northeast Syria in a declared attempt to push Kurdish militants from the People's Protection Units (YPG) away from border areas.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey would never sit at the negotiating table with Kurdish militants in Syria, emphasizing that Ankara's military operation in the Arab country's north would come to an end only when the Kurds leave the region and a "safe zone" is established there.
Ankara views the US-backed YPG as a terrorist organization tied to the homegrown Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which has been seeking an autonomous Kurdish region in Turkey since 1984. The YPG constitutes the backbone of the SDF.
The developments led the Kurds to reach out to the Damascus government for support, reaching an agreement with Syrian troops to enter towns near the border with Turkey.
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