Eleven people killed by explosion in Afrin

At least 11 people were killed in the northern city of Afrin on Monday after the Turkish military and allied Syrian fighters seized control of it.

Seven civilians and four Free Syrian Army fighters were killed in an explosion in a four-storey building, reported Turkey’s Anadolu news agency.

It said the bomb was “planted by terrorist” and exploded as the fighters conducted a search, following an eight-week campaign to drive out Kurdish YPG (People’s Protection Units) forces.

Turkey considers the YPG to be an extension of the militant PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party) that is fighting an insurgency on its home territory.

The Observatory, which monitors Syria’s war through a network of activists on the ground, described extensive looting of shops, homes and cars in Afrin city.

Syrian opposition leaders and Kurdish officials criticised the ransacking, on Monday.

Mohammed Alloush, a key figure in the Jaish Al Islam rebel group, said that stealing private and public property was a crime.

“All those who took part in this decadence need to have their hands slapped hard,” he said on Twitter.

A Turkish-backed Arab fighter tows away looted items in the Syrian city of Afrin on March 18, 2018.

It is unclear what Turkey will do next following the capture of Afrin. However, Ankara has said that its next target would be a Syrian region further east where United States forces are stationed alongside the YPG – Washington’s ally against ISIL in the country.

Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag said on Monday there were no plans to remain in the city of Afrin.

“We are not staying permanently in Afrin. We are not an occupier at all,” he told reporters in televised comments in Istanbul.

Kenya floods leave at least 15 people dead.

“The objective of our operation is to cleanse the region of terror, to restore peace, trust and stability in a strong way, and to return the region to its rightful owners.”

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini criticised Turkey over its offensive in the city and called on Ankara to ensure the fighting eases in the war-torn country.

“I am worried about this,” she told reporters in Brussels on Monday. She added that international efforts in Syria were supposed to be “aiming at de-escalating the military activities and not escalating them”.

Ms Mogherini urged Turkey, Russia and Iran to guarantee that conflict “de-escalation zones” were established as promised, to “guarantee that is what happens on the ground”.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: