Turkish forces lay siege of Afrin’s key urban cente

Turkish forces and allied Syrian militants have laid siege to the main urban center of the Kurdish region of Afrin in northwestern Syria, forcing thousands of the civilian population in the city to escape their homes. In a Tuesday statement, the Turkish military said it launched the siege of the town of Afrin on Monday, noting that it took control of “critical areas” of the town without providing further details. Hundreds of thousands of civilians are currently encircled by the military conflict, with thousands of them trying to escape the town toward nearby areas controlled by the Syrian government as the Turkish troops got closer. Syria’s Al-khbariya TV showed vehicles and trucks loaded with civilians leaving the town on Monday. Residents said some of their relatives came under fire as they tried to take the road out of the enclave. Water supply was cut off to the town after Turkish forces seized control of the local dam and residents merely rely on water wells for their consumption. According to top Syrian Kurdish official, Fawza Yousef, Syrian government forces have been stationed along the border with two government-held villages to the southeast of Afrin, Nubl and Zahraa, to protect them.

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