ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – The United Nations on Friday urged all concerned parties to avoid actions that would further escalate tensions in the Kurdish city of Afrin, Syrian Kurdistan (Rojava).
“We are obviously following the situation closely. We have seen the reports of shelling in Afrin,” UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric told reporters.
He said the UN is calling on all parties to avoid any acts that could deepen the suffering of the people in the area.
“All parties must ensure the protection of civilians at all times under any circumstances,” Dujarric added.
Turkey has been shelling the Kurdish-held enclave in the past few days as it prepares for a military incursion into Afrin against the People’s Protection Units (YPG), a local Kurdish force that has been protecting the area and fighting the Islamic State (IS) since 2014.
Ankara links the YPG and its party wing, the Democratic Union Party (PYD), to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
The PKK is a Kurdish guerrilla group that has been designated a terrorist organization by Turkey, the European Union, and the United States.
Afrin is surrounded from the north and west by Turkey and cut off from the other two self-declared Kurdish autonomous cantons of Kobani and Jazira by the Turkish-backed Islamist groups in a pocket of land west of the Euphrates.
The city has been under the protection of the US-backed YPG since 2012 when the Syrian regime forces withdrew from the area.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany