AFRIN, Syrian Kurdistan (Kurdistan 24) – Civilian and military casualties have dramatically increased in the recent Turkish airstrikes on Syria’s Kurdish-run northwest region of Afrin, authorities there said on Saturday.
After airstrikes were halted for three days, Turkish warplanes resumed shelling the city and countryside, mostly targeting civilians.
According to the Afrin city hospital, about 150 civilians lost their lives, and over 300 were wounded.
Kurdistan 24 correspondent Akram Salih, who is covering the developments in Afrin, said the shelling and bombardment continued and the number of civilian casualties had increased.
A wounded woman at the Afrin city hospital told Kurdistan 24 that Turkish army snipers target civilians in the border areas.
“There were shelling and bombings all night, and in the morning while we were preparing breakfast, the bombardment resumed, and a sniper shot me after he saw some people returned,” she said.
Five wounded civilians were brought to the hospital, including a child who was in critical condition.
A roughly 45-year-old woman there said that due to continuous shelling, civilians were stuck in their villages, and thus could not be transported to the hospital.
Regarding the military casualties suffered by the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), no accurate number was reported except for five fighters who lost their lives last week.
“Our brave fighters Nadia Mohammad, Idris Jaban, Sarhad Kajmaz, Mazloum Mohammad, and Sipan Hasan gained the honor of martyrdom while defending their homes and lands in Afrin,” an online YPG statement read.
On the Turkish side, the YPG statement said their forces killed 15 Turkish soldiers and 21 militants of the Turkish-backed Syrian rebels at the Raju front, west of Afrin.
In Jandaris, the Kurdish forces said their troops killed 11 Turkish-backed Syrian rebels and wounded 15 others.
On Jan. 20, Turkey launched an air and ground offensive in Syrian Kurdistan (Rojava), targeting the YPG and their all-female brigade, the Women’s Protection Units (YPJ), in the Afrin region.
With the ongoing operation, the Turkish military is attempting to control the mountains around Afrin with the aim to enter the city.
Despite heavy bombardment on the region, the Turkish army and their allied Syrian rebel forces have not achieved any major advancement.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany
(Additional reporting in Kurdish by Kurdistan 24 correspondent Akram Salih from Afrin)