UN Deeply Alarmed About Civilian Deaths in Besieged Afrin

UN Deeply Alarmed About Civilian Deaths in Besieged AfrinUN Deeply Alarmed About Civilian Deaths in Besieged Afrin

The United Nations has said that there were alarming reports about civilian deaths in the Syrian enclave of Afrin, where Kurdish forces were said to be blocking civilians from leaving the city.

The UN rights office said it had been receiving “deeply alarming reports from Afrin in northwestern Syria about civilian deaths and injuries due to airstrikes and ground-based strikes,” adding that the area is under a siege and civilians could be being used as “human shields” by the Kurdish forces there, Al Jazeera reported.

Spokesperson Ravina Shamdasani in particular decried “reports that civilians are being prevented from leaving Afrin city by Kurdish forces ... (and) are being held to be used as human shields.”

Turkish-led forces launched an air and ground offensive on the Kurdish-majority region on January 20.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights estimates that at least 245 civilians, including 41 children, have been killed.

The Observatory said Thursday more than 30,000 people had fled the city in 24 hours, with civilians still trying to slip out on Friday before Turkish-led forces cut the last exit road.

“Hundreds of thousands of civilians are at risk including those recently displaced from other areas captured by Turkish-led forces,” Shamdasani said.


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