Christian Kurds Bombed by Turkey: 'Many Lives are in Mortal Danger... Please Help Us'
Christian churches were among the Kurds begging for international assistance to stop Turkey's assault on a northern Syrian city to clear it of Kurdish forces that have been fighting ISIS.
Turkish forces began bombing the city of Afrin from the air on Saturday and sent in ground troops on Sunday. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Sunday that “Operation Olive Branch" against the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) "will be resolved" and "there will be no step back" as he claims the Kurds are terrorists.
"We have discussed it with the Russians and we have an agreement with them,” Erdoğan said in Ankara.
“The U.S. is urging that the operation should not last too long and should be conducted within a certain time frame. I ask the U.S.: Does your operation in Afghanistan, which you launched more than 10 years ago, have a certain time frame? When will it be completed? You are also still in Iraq, aren’t you? Do these kind of operations have a certain time frame?” he added.
In a joint statement Saturday, the Kurdish Churches in Afrin and Kobane confirmed "we are under attack by Turkey."
"The lives of our women and children are in danger. The city of Afrin is being bombarded by Turkish airstrikes. We are asking for intervention, and protection against the violent attacks which are being levied against us at the moment," the statement continued.
"Many lives are in mortal danger. We are requesting aid and assistance. We are unable to protect ourselves or our families against these attacks, neither are we able to offer assistance or shelter to the innocents. Please help us."
The YPG said Saturday that some 100 locations were targeted by six dozen Turkish fighter jets. Three Kurdish fighters -- two of them women -- were killed Saturday in the airstrikes along with at least seven civilians.
"Occupying Turkish army and its terrorists, after failed to enter Afrin by attacking on the ground, try to scare people of Afrin and displace them to FSA held areas. Turkey’s attack directly to civilians of all districts of Afrin clearly shows their despair against YPG and YPJ forces," the YPG's General Command said in statement Saturday.
"We know that, without the permission of global forces and mainly Russia, whose troops located in Afrin, Turkey cannot attack civilians using Afrin airspace. Therefore we hold Russia as responsible as Turkey and stress that Russia is the crime partner of Turkey in massacring the civilians in the region."
The YPG vowed to "protect our land and people" and called upon Kurds to "join the ranks of defense."
On Sunday, the YPG said that Turkey's bombardment of a camp for Syrians who fled ISIS, the village of Cilbir, and the city center of Afrin "caused many civilian deaths."