AFRIN, Syrian Kurdistan (Kurdistan 24) – Despite Turkey’s ongoing military offensive on Syria’s northwest region of Afrin, people of the area are insisting on not leaving the city, civilians said on Sunday.
Speaking to the Kurdistan 24 team in Afrin, a forty-year-old woman lamented the international community for being silent on the attacks on Afrin.
“We say to the world, ‘stop being silent,’” she said.
“Just look at Afrin, where children and women are dying, people's houses are being destroyed,” she added.
Other civilians claimed the city of Afrin and its countryside had been the safest places for Arab and Kurdish Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) from Idlib, Bab, and Manbij, where Syrian regime and Russian air forces have been bombarding for years. They cautioned, however, the city was still a safe area for people in surrounding villages.
Many others said they are not afraid of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s threats and would never leave their city.
“We will never leave the land of our home country,” said a forty-year-old woman in Afrin.
The people of Afrin have called on the international community to put an end to the fighting as hundreds of families were forced to flee their villages due to continuous shelling and bombardments.
Those who left their destroyed villages behind are now living in caves and the mountains in urgent need of basic services.
Teenagers and other youths have been put to work supporting wounded civilians and injured children.
“When the fighting broke out, most people did not leave the country. Some joined the fight on the front lines, others joined groups providing first aid and medical attention, and many others are collecting donations to help civilians,” a man, roughly twenty-three years of age, asserted.
Turkey launched a military operation on Afrin ten days ago against the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), who have been protecting Afrin since 2012 from the Islamic State (IS) after Syrian government forces withdrew from the area.
The operation is ongoing, with multiple active frontlines and casualties reported on both sides.
Editing by Nadia Riva