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|Turkey castigates call to withdraw army and militias from Kurdish Afrin district|
From January 20th to March 18th, Turkish forces carried out an operation called Olive Branch against US-allied Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) based in the enclave.
During the campaign surrogate Arab militiamen systematically expelled Kurdish civilians, looted houses, businesses and government offices, and bulldozed agricultural lands.
Kurds from Afrin based in Damascus told The Irish Times they had lost “everything”: homes, land and olive plantations to which the men had regularly returned to take part in the harvest. They said their families had taken refuge at Tel Rifaat and nearby villages in Syrian government-held territory.
The exodus, estimated at 137,000 by the UN, has overwhelmed local communities and UN efforts to provide food and water. Families were initially camping on roadsides and under trees during bitterly cold weather. They have not been allowed to return home by Turkish forces.