Kurdish Red Crescent: Turkish military shelling kills 17 women, wounds 44 more in Afrin

Kurdish Red Crescent (Heyva Sor) has announced that Turkish military’s shelling has killed 17 women and wounded 44 women seriously in Afrin province of northern Syria.

“Turkey claims that its war against Afrin is a war on terrorism, but in fact the civilians are the real victims of its illegal war. Women and children have been the most targeted people by Turkish airstrikes and rockets” the report said according to a news story given by pro-Kurdish Fırat news agency (ANF).

The organization also gave information about the condition of the wounded women and said that some of them are in critical condition and some lost their limbs. Heyva Sor has also said that targeting women and children is a war crime punishable by international law.

According to another news report, home of Ebud family in Afrin city center was hit by Turkish artillery today and wounded six members of the family. The attack took place at 01:00 a.m. and several shells hit civilian homes and cars. Rexed Ebud (8), Umer Ebud (1), Eyşe Mustefa (32), Fewaz Ebud (42), Ebdulrehman Ebud (12) and Cuma Ebud (13) were wounded in the attack. Seven cars were also damaged.

Moreover, Rajo Region Education Committee Administrator Şervan Hemû has stated that thousands of students in the region have been deprived of their education. 4,200 students in the Rajo region alone are unable to continue school due to the Turkish military attacks targeting civilian residential areas. Hemû said children suffer the most damage in the attacks.

In northwestern Turkey, two people were detained for allegedly taking part in an online PYD/PKK smear campaign against Turkey’s military operation in northwestern Syria, according to the local governor. The Balıkesir Governor’s Office said on Wednesday that the suspects were apprehended in coordinated raids.

Also on Wednesday, Turkish government has warned that pro-Syrian government forces entering the northwest Afrin region to support a Kurdish militia there will face “serious consequences” and they will be regarded as legitimate targets.

A convoy of some 40-50 vehicles carrying pro-Assad forces tried to enter Syria’s Afrin on Tuesday, but retreated after artillery fire by Turkish forces, Turkish autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s spokesman İbrahim Kalın said. However, a commander in the pro-Assad military alliance told Reuters on Tuesday the forces had turned back after coming under fire, but then resumed their progress and were in Afrin.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Turkey’s offensive continued overnight, including shelling of the main Afrin town. Turkish military and its Syrian rebel allies launched a military operation last month to drive Kurdish YPG militia out of Afrin. Ankara says the YPG is a terrorist group and an extension of the PKK which has fought a three-decade insurgency in southeast Turkey.

“Any step there aimed at supporting the… YPG terrorist organization will mean they are directly siding with terrorist organizations and will therefore become legitimate targets for us,” Kalın said. He also said Turkey was not in direct talks with the Syrian government, but its messages were being conveyed indirectly.

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım has also said on Wednesday that the terrorists in Syria’s Afrin will get the “punishment they deserve.”

“Through Operation Olive Branch, we will eliminate threats directed to our southern border. The operation is moving full steam ahead, as planned. The fronts that the heroes (Turkish) soldiers] created around Afrin, have started to unite. Soon, the terrorists in all of Afrin will be given the punishment they deserve. Hundreds of thousands of people living there will be saved from cruelty,” said PM Yıldırım.

The Turkish General Staff said in a statement on Wednesday that a total of 1,780 PYD/PKK and alleged ISIL militants have been “neutralized” since the launch of military operation in Afrin region.

Sixty-five terrorists were neutralized during Tuesday’s airstrikes on terrorist targets by the Turkish Armed Forces, the statement added. Turkish authorities often use the word “neutralized” in their statements to imply the terrorists in question either surrendered or were killed or captured.

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