ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – At least 15,000 people have been displaced since the start of a Turkish military operation in the Syrian Kurdistan (Rojava) city of Afrin, a United Nations report revealed on Tuesday.
According to a report from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, an estimated 15,000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) have reportedly arrived in Afrin town and its surrounding communities.
The report added that humanitarian aid is required as civilians in the town “are relying on water trucks to meet their water needs” while the prices of basic commodities have increased due to the area becoming “congested, putting pressure on shops and businesses.”
“IDPs are residing in houses belonging to relatives or in unfinished buildings,” the UN report stated.
The attack on Afrin is now in its second week as dozens of civilians, including children and women, were reported to have been killed by Turkish air raids and shelling.
Kurdistan 24 correspondent Akram Saleh, who arrived in Afrin with his team on Saturday, said the bombing has targeted villages which the Turkish army is seeking to move toward but have not made any progress.
The UN report noted that “the majority of hostilities remain concentrated along the Syrian – Turkish border,” suggesting Turkey has made little progress in its campaign against the Syrian Kurds.
Turkish warplanes began striking the Kurdish city of Afrin on Jan. 20 with ground troops entering the region as well.
The campaign dubbed “Operation Olive Branch” by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is meant to clear Syria’s Kurdish-held northwest district of People’s Protection Units (YPG) fighters who Turkey claims are an offshoot of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
Ankara has labeled the US-backed Kurdish forces a “terrorist organization” and has been infuriated by Washington’s support for the YPG.
The US, which is backing the Kurds in the ongoing battle against the Islamic State in Syria, said it was concerned and has called on Turkey to limit its military offensive in the Kurdish region.