Creating new perspectives since 2009

Thousands more Syrians flee their homes as two battles rage

March 18, 2018 at 11:13 am

Syrians pass through Cilvegozu border gate to reach their hometown in Reyhanli, Hatay on 21 June 2017 [Cem Genco/Anadolu Agency]

Thousands of civilians streamed out of their towns on Saturday to escape battles in the north and south of Syria, where two different offensives have prompted an exodus in recent days, reports Reuters.

A new wave of people fled a rebel pocket to army lines in eastern Ghouta near the capital Damascus, as rescuers and a monitor said air strikes pounded the besieged zone.

In the northern Afrin region, people fled as Turkish war planes struck the main town, Syrian Kurdish forces and the monitor said. More than 150,000 people have left the town in the last few days, a senior Kurdish official said.

The two offensives – one by the Syrian army with Russia’s support, the other led by Turkey with allied Syrian rebels – entered decisive phases this week. Both have shown how foreign backers and their Syrian allies are reshaping the map after the defeat of Islamic State’s self-proclaimed caliphate last year.

Turkey launched the cross-border offensive in January against the Syrian Kurdish YPG fighters who control Afrin.

In its month-long assault, the Syrian military has marched into much of eastern Ghouta, the last major insurgent bastion around Damascus.