This photo published by the official Syrian news agency SANA shows Syrian civilians with their belongings fleeing the fighting between Syrian government forces and rebels, in Hamouria, in eastern Ghouta, a suburb of Damascus, Syria, on Thursday of March. January 15, 2018. Thousands of civilians left the enclave besieged by the opposition in eastern Syria of Ghouta on Thursday, crossing on foot and in trucks and tractors to the government-controlled territory near the capital, Damascus, according to images of the state -run Syrian television. (SANA via AP) (Associated Press)
By Associated Press By Associated Press March 16 at 6:56 a.m.
BEIRUT – The latest developments in the seven Syrian civil war of the year (all local times):
Syrian Kurdish forces say that the Turkish bombing and bombardment in the city of Afrin, in northern Syria, has killed at least 20 civilians.
Redur Khalil, a spokesman for the Syrian Democratic Forces, also says that 30 people have been injured when Turkish forces bombed the Ashrafieh neighborhood of the city on Friday.
The Syrian Observatory of Human Rights Watchers estimated the death toll at 18. He released a video showing four dead bodies lying in the streets of Afrin.
Turkish forces have almost surrounded Afrin in an effort to expel Kurdish fighters from the city and the surrounding region. Residents say they face shortages of bread, water and electricity.
Hundreds of civilians were seen leaving the city to neighboring towns on Thursday seeking relief. It is believed that there are still tens of thousands of civilians inside.
The Turkish army says they have dropped leaflets in Arabic and Kurdish in the town of Afrin in northern Syria, asking residents to stay away from "Terrorist positions" and urging the Syrian Kurd militia to surrender.
The leaflets were launched on Friday when Turkish troops and sharp Syrian opposition fighters press the seven-week offensive by Ankara to expel Syrian Kurdish forces from the Afrin enclave and its main city of the same name.
The leaflets say that the Afrin civilians who wanted to leave would be "under the guarantee" of the Turkish army. They also ask the villagers not to allow themselves to be used as "human shields".
Pamphlets urge Syrian Kurdish fighters to "trust in the hand we offer". They say: "Come and surrender! A calm and peaceful future awaits you in Afrin."
The Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov says that the Russian army and The Syrian government are extending the ceasefire in the rebels of Damascus suburbs, provided it is necessary to allow all civilians to leave the area.
Lavrov spoke in Kazakhstan on Friday, saying that the ceasefire will be extended "until all (civilians) leave" the enclave known as eastern Ghouta. 19659006] The Russian Ministry of Defense said that 2,000 people had left the suburbs controlled by the rebels early in the morning.
Thursday was the largest exodus of civilians in a single day in Syria's civil war. Tens of thousands left Hamouria and other opposition cities to escape the onslaught.
Civilians fled while Syrian government troops, backed by Russian planes, were advancing east of Ghouta.
Otherwise, Turkish forces make their way to the city of Afrin, north of the Kurds.
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