YPG blocking civilians from leaving Afrin: UN
WASHINGTON – Anadolu Agency
Local authorities are continuing to block the exodus of civilians from Syria’s Afrin region, the U.N. spokesman said on March 5, referring to the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG).
The U.N. has no direct contact with them and it is critical that people be able to move freely, said Stephane Dujarric in response to a question from a correspondent of Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency.
Dujarric added that nearly 5,000 civilians have managed to leave the region of northern Syria.
U.N. Undersecretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock said earlier that civilians who want to flee Afrin continue to be stopped at exit points and were prevented from accessing safer areas by the YPG militia.
On Jan. 20, Turkey launched “Operation Olive Branch” to clear YPG militants from Afrin.
According to the Turkish General Staff, the operation inside Syria aims to establish security and stability along Turkey’s borders and the region as well as “protect Syrians from terrorist cruelty and oppression.”