Turkish shelling and airstrikes have reportedly killed at least 20 people in Syria’s Afrin as its forces warn the Kurdish militants there to surrender amid their push to make their way into the northern town.
Redur Khalil, a spokesman for the Kurdish militants said said 30 people have been wounded as Turkish forces shelled the Ashrafieh neighborhood of the town on Friday.
“They are shelling in order to storm” the Afrin town from its north, Brusk Hasakeh, a spokesman for the Kurdish militants, known as the People’s Protection Units (YPG).
The Turkish military also warned residents to stay away from “terrorist positions.”
It dropped leaflets on the town that urged the militants to lay down arms, reading, “Come surrender! A calm and peaceful future awaits you in Afrin.”
Turkey has been attacking Afrin since January in an attempt to clear Syria’s northern region of the Kurdish militants that it views as terrorists and linked to the homegrown Kurdistan Workers’ Party.
Syria regards the offensive as an act of aggression and has sent reinforcements to the region to defend its population.
Hasakeh said the YPG and its all-female affiliate, the YPJ, are engaged in battles with the Turkish forces and their allied militants.
Meanwhile, the so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said hundreds of families had fled Afrin towards nearby villages, which are held by Damascus-allied forces, overnight.
On Thursday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed that Turkish troops would continue the operation until the mission was completed.
“Don’t get your hopes up. We will only leave Afrin once our work is done,” he said.