Turkey’s military is surrounding the mainly-Kurdish city of Afrin in Syria’s north and is threatening to turn the landscape into another Eastern Ghouta, according to a British citizen defending the city with Syrian Kurdish fighters.
Mass murder is being carried out against the Kurds in the region, said Jamie Janson, a British volunteer fighting with the People’s Protection Units (YPG) in Afrin, according to the Daily Telegraph.
“If the world stands by and continues to do nothing, the devastation you are seeing in Eastern Ghouta today will be Afrin city tomorrow,” Janson told the newspaper.
Recent drone footage showed large-scale destruction in villages and towns on the approach to the city, the Telegraph said.
“For seven weeks now Afrin has been bombed and shelled without mercy,” Janson said. “The people have resisted one of the largest armies in the world, with no air force to protect them from round-the-clock bombardment. The human cost has been enormous, the destruction indiscriminate.
“People don’t even wake up when windows rattle from early morning bomb blasts any more. It feels a bit like Pompeii the day before Vesuvius.”
Janson is one of three Britons among dozens of international volunteer fighters in Afrin, including Huang Lei from Manchester and Dan Smith, a combat medic, the newspaper said.
The Syrian government has repeatedly offered the Kurds protection in return for handing over their positions, but Kurdish leaders have so far rejected the deal, the Telegraph reported.
Turkey had told NATO allies that they would stop before entering the city, planning only to secure the border, a Western diplomat said.
They were surprised by the recent advances, the newspaper said.
“We thought the Afrin offensive was more about Turkey trying to get the US’s attention rather that any serious attempt to take territory in Syria,” he told the Telegraph. “We told them the last thing Syria needs is a needless battle.”