UN reports conscription, blocking of civilian movement out of PYD-held Afrin


A recent report from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) pointed to conscription and restrictions on the freedom of movement for civilians by targeting adult males in the Democratic Union Party (PYD)-controlled Afrin region of Syria and stressed that local authorities are blocking those trying to flee.

"Local authorities in the Afrin district are reportedly continuing to block displacement out of Afrin district," the OCHA said in a report Wednesday, titled "Recent Developments in Northwestern Syria."

The U.N. report also said "Family separation is reported because of displacement and conscription inside the Afrin district and additional restrictions on freedom of movement targeting adult males."

"In regime-held areas, freedom of movement is made difficult due to the confiscation of personal documents for which IDPs [internally displaced people] are provided temporary documents, and restrictions are imposed to prevent movement beyond Nabol and Zahraa. Reportedly 10 percent of IDPs do not have personal documentation," the OCHA added.

Afrin has been a major center for the PYD and other terrorists since July 2012, when the Bashar Assad regime in Syria left the city to the terrorist group without a fight. The PYD and its armed People's Protection Units (YPG) are the Syrian affiliates of the PKK, which is a designated terrorist group by Turkey, the U.S. and EU.

The U.N. report said that according to local sources, an estimated 15,000 to 30,000 people have been displaced from peripheral communities to central Afrin in recent weeks.

"IDPs are residing in houses belonging to relatives or in unfinished buildings. With more IDPs arriving, the central part of the district is becoming congested, putting pressure on services and businesses," the OCHA wrote in the report.

Touching on the humanitarian situation in PYD-controlled Afrin, the office said "Reportedly, most houses in Afrin are hosting several families. Schools, mosques and public buildings were opened to host new arrivals. The main needs of the IDPs include food baskets, mattresses, blankets, baby formula and medicine. Educational activities in the district are currently suspended."

In the face of growing threats to its national security, Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch in Afrin on Jan. 20 with the aim to clear out terrorists along its borders. As the U.S. has not ended its support to the YPG to prevent the free fall of its relations with Turkey, Ankara launched the operation to ensure its security.

The operation is being carried out in line with international law, according to U.N. Security Council resolutions, the right to self-defense as enshrined in the U.N. Charter and with respect for Syria's territorial integrity.

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