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Afrin Shellings Result in Civilian Casualties, Displacement of 6,000 People - UN

© Sputnik / Hikmet DurgunFSA fighters in Afrin, Syria
FSA fighters in Afrin, Syria - Sputnik International
A new wave of violence has swept over the north of Syria, as Ankara's operation launched in Afrin against Kurdish forces active in the region has entered its fourth day.

The United Nations expresses its deep concern over Turkey's ongoing operation in the Kurdish enclave of Afrin in northern Syria, which has already claimed lives of civilians and forced about 6,000 of people leave their homes, UN Secretary-General spokesperson Stephane Dujarric told reporters on Tuesday.

The UN representative also added that more than 120,000 displaced people currently reside in the targeted district.

READ MORE: Operation Olive Branch Could Actually Improve Turkish-Syrian Ties – Analyst

Turkey started a military intervention in the region, dubbed Olive Branch Operation, on Saturday by shelling Kurdish positions surrounding Syria's Afrin. The next day Ankara also confirmed the beginning of the ground offensive with Turkish troops entering the Syrian territory. According to Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag, the only aim of Ankara in Afrin is to elimminate terrorists from the area.

Smoke billows on the Syrian side of the border at Hassa near Hatay, southern Turkey on January 20, 2018 as Turkish jet fighters hit the People's Protection Units (YPG) positions - Sputnik International
Turkey Reportedly Shells Kurdish Village in Northern Syria
Tensions around Afrin has been running high since the US announcement of its plans to build a 30,000-strong Kurdish force from Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fighting Daesh in the region. Ankara's concerns are caused by the fact that the SDF is affiliated with Syria's Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), which Turkey considers to be a terrorist organization as they have ties to the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) which is actively fighting against the government in Turkey in a bid to gain independence. The PKK is listed as a terrorist group in both Turkey and the US, with the difference that Washington draws no parallels between the Kurdistan Workers' Party in Turkey and Kurdish YPG militia in Syria, which drives a wedge between the two countries.

READ MORE: PHOTOS Show Free Syrian Army Fighters in Afrin Amid Turkish Operation

Since the start of Turkey's offensive the world community has been closely monitoring the humanitarian situation in the region. Russia stated that it follows the humanitarian aspects connected with the offensive stressing that it stays in contact with both Damascus and Ankara on this issue. The EU foreign affairs chief Mogherini also noted the importance of ensuring the security of civilians and their access to the humanitarian assistance amid the operation.

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