Hundreds of Thousands Flee From Syria's Afrin Within 3 Days

Published March 18th, 2018 - 08:47 GMT

More than 200,000 civilians have fled the city of Afrin in northern Syria in less than three days to escape a Turkish-led military offensive against a Kurdish militia, a war monitor said on Mar.17. Turkey and its Syrian Arab rebel allies have waged a nearly two-month offensive on the Afrin enclave, which is held by the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG).

On the edge of Ghouta, a sprawling semi-rural area within mortar range of central Damascus, hundreds of civilians were still streaming out of destroyed towns, carrying scant belongings in bags and bundles.

On Feb.18, Syrian and allied forces intensified their air campaign on Eastern Ghouta, launching a ground offensive to retake the last opposition bastion near Damascus a week later. 




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A young boy waits at a check point in the village of Anab ahead of crossing to the Turkish-backed Syrian rebels side on Mar. 17, 2018, as civilians flee the city of Afrin in northern Syria. (BULENT KILIC / AFP)

A young boy waits at a check point in the village of Anab ahead of crossing to the Turkish-backed Syrian rebels side on Mar. 17, 2018, as civilians flee the city of Afrin in northern Syria. (BULENT KILIC / AFP)

Syrian children look on as they arrive at a check point in the village of Anab ahead of crossing to the Turkish-backed Syrian rebels side on Mar. 17, 2018, as civilians flee the city of Afrin in northern Syria. (BULENT KILIC / AFP)

Syrian children look on as they arrive at a check point in the village of Anab ahead of crossing to the Turkish-backed Syrian rebels side on Mar. 17, 2018, as civilians flee the city of Afrin in northern Syria. (BULENT KILIC / AFP)

Syrian civilians, evacuated from rebel-held areas in the Eastern Ghouta, gather at a school in the regime-controlled Hosh Nasri, on the northeastern outskirts of the capital Damascus on Mar.16, 2018, ahead of being relocated to other areas. (LOUAI BESHARA / AFP)

Syrian civilians, evacuated from rebel-held areas in the Eastern Ghouta, gather at a school in the regime-controlled Hosh Nasri, on the northeastern outskirts of the capital Damascus on Mar.16, 2018, ahead of being relocated to other areas. (LOUAI BESHARA / AFP)

People carry their belongings as they flee their homes in the town of Hamouria in Syria's eastern Ghouta region on Mar. 15, 2018. (ABDULMONAM EASSA / AFP)

People carry their belongings as they flee their homes in the town of Hamouria in Syria's eastern Ghouta region on Mar. 15, 2018. (ABDULMONAM EASSA / AFP)

Syrian civilians, evacuated from rebel-held areas in the Eastern Ghouta, gather at a school in the regime-controlled Adra district, on the northeastern outskirts of the capital Damascus on Mar. 16, 2018. .
(LOUAI BESHARA / AFP)

Syrian civilians, evacuated from rebel-held areas in the Eastern Ghouta, gather at a school in the regime-controlled Adra district, on the northeastern outskirts of the capital Damascus on Mar. 16, 2018. . (LOUAI BESHARA / AFP)

Syrian civilians, evacuated from rebel-held areas in the Eastern Ghouta, gather at a school in the regime-controlled Hosh Nasri, on the northeastern outskirts of the capital Damascus on Mar.16, 2018, ahead of being relocated to other areas. (LOUAI BESHARA / AFP)

Syrian civilians, evacuated from rebel-held areas in the Eastern Ghouta, gather at a school in the regime-controlled Hosh Nasri, on the northeastern outskirts of the capital Damascus on Mar.16, 2018, ahead of being relocated to other areas. (LOUAI BESHARA / AFP)

A young boy waits at a check point in the village of Anab ahead of crossing to the Turkish-backed Syrian rebels side on Mar. 17, 2018, as civilians flee the city of Afrin in northern Syria. (BULENT KILIC / AFP)
Syrian children look on as they arrive at a check point in the village of Anab ahead of crossing to the Turkish-backed Syrian rebels side on Mar. 17, 2018, as civilians flee the city of Afrin in northern Syria. (BULENT KILIC / AFP)
Syrian civilians, evacuated from rebel-held areas in the Eastern Ghouta, gather at a school in the regime-controlled Hosh Nasri, on the northeastern outskirts of the capital Damascus on Mar.16, 2018, ahead of being relocated to other areas. (LOUAI BESHARA / AFP)
People carry their belongings as they flee their homes in the town of Hamouria in Syria's eastern Ghouta region on Mar. 15, 2018. (ABDULMONAM EASSA / AFP)
Syrian civilians, evacuated from rebel-held areas in the Eastern Ghouta, gather at a school in the regime-controlled Adra district, on the northeastern outskirts of the capital Damascus on Mar. 16, 2018. .
(LOUAI BESHARA / AFP)
Syrian civilians, evacuated from rebel-held areas in the Eastern Ghouta, gather at a school in the regime-controlled Hosh Nasri, on the northeastern outskirts of the capital Damascus on Mar.16, 2018, ahead of being relocated to other areas. (LOUAI BESHARA / AFP)
A young boy waits at a check point in the village of Anab ahead of crossing to the Turkish-backed Syrian rebels side on Mar. 17, 2018, as civilians flee the city of Afrin in northern Syria. (BULENT KILIC / AFP)
A young boy waits at a check point in the village of Anab ahead of crossing to the Turkish-backed Syrian rebels side on Mar. 17, 2018, as civilians flee the city of Afrin in northern Syria. (BULENT KILIC / AFP)
Syrian children look on as they arrive at a check point in the village of Anab ahead of crossing to the Turkish-backed Syrian rebels side on Mar. 17, 2018, as civilians flee the city of Afrin in northern Syria. (BULENT KILIC / AFP)
Syrian children look on as they arrive at a check point in the village of Anab ahead of crossing to the Turkish-backed Syrian rebels side on Mar. 17, 2018, as civilians flee the city of Afrin in northern Syria. (BULENT KILIC / AFP)
Syrian civilians, evacuated from rebel-held areas in the Eastern Ghouta, gather at a school in the regime-controlled Hosh Nasri, on the northeastern outskirts of the capital Damascus on Mar.16, 2018, ahead of being relocated to other areas. (LOUAI BESHARA / AFP)
Syrian civilians, evacuated from rebel-held areas in the Eastern Ghouta, gather at a school in the regime-controlled Hosh Nasri, on the northeastern outskirts of the capital Damascus on Mar.16, 2018, ahead of being relocated to other areas. (LOUAI BESHARA / AFP)
People carry their belongings as they flee their homes in the town of Hamouria in Syria's eastern Ghouta region on Mar. 15, 2018. (ABDULMONAM EASSA / AFP)
People carry their belongings as they flee their homes in the town of Hamouria in Syria's eastern Ghouta region on Mar. 15, 2018. (ABDULMONAM EASSA / AFP)
Syrian civilians, evacuated from rebel-held areas in the Eastern Ghouta, gather at a school in the regime-controlled Adra district, on the northeastern outskirts of the capital Damascus on Mar. 16, 2018. .
(LOUAI BESHARA / AFP)
Syrian civilians, evacuated from rebel-held areas in the Eastern Ghouta, gather at a school in the regime-controlled Adra district, on the northeastern outskirts of the capital Damascus on Mar. 16, 2018. . (LOUAI BESHARA / AFP)
Syrian civilians, evacuated from rebel-held areas in the Eastern Ghouta, gather at a school in the regime-controlled Hosh Nasri, on the northeastern outskirts of the capital Damascus on Mar.16, 2018, ahead of being relocated to other areas. (LOUAI BESHARA / AFP)
Syrian civilians, evacuated from rebel-held areas in the Eastern Ghouta, gather at a school in the regime-controlled Hosh Nasri, on the northeastern outskirts of the capital Damascus on Mar.16, 2018, ahead of being relocated to other areas. (LOUAI BESHARA / AFP)