Turkey's attacks on Afrin kill 160 civilians, displace thousands

A top Kurdish official called on the United Nations to take a firm stance to stop the human suffering and rights violations at the hands of Turkey and its Islamist proxies.

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) - The number of civilians killed by continued Turkish airstrikes, ground shelling and attacks on the Kurdish enclave of Afrin in northwestern Syria, has risen to 160, with 395 more wounded and over 60 thousand people displaced over the past month, officials said on Friday.

Hevi Mustafa, co-president of the Executive Council of the self-declared Afrin canton, told a press conference attended by the head of the region's Health Committee, Angela Rasho, that among those killed were 26 children.

She said the Turkish army was also systematically targeting infrastructure, including mosques, schools, dams, water pumping stations, and food depots.

Mustafa called on the United Nations Security Council to take a firm stance to put an end to the human suffering and rights violations at the hands of Turkey and its Islamist proxies staging a fierce assault on the isolated region since January 20.

Turkish aerial campaigns on Afrin resumed Thursday night for the first time in four days, apparently after Russia, which is controlling the Syrian airspace there, gave the green light again.

Airstrikes hit central Afrin and the US-backed Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) while Ankara claimed it had killed over one thousand 'terrorists,' including fighters of the Islamic State (IS), a group that has never had a presence in the region.

There was no information by the YPG on its casualties as Turkey managed so far to capture several villages along its border with Syria.

Mustafa had earlier urged the United States to swiftly enforce a no-fly zone to stop further Turkish airstrikes on Washington's Kurdish allies, the Global Coalition's main partners in the war on the IS.

Alluding to threats by the Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, to change Afrin's demography Mustafa said the US had to act soon as the time was running out in an opinion piece for the Washington Post published last month.

(Kurdistan 24 correspondent in Afrin Akram Salih contributed to this report.)

Editing by Nadia Riva