The United Nations has been unable to deliver water and other vital humanitarian aid to Syria’s city of Afrin for the last 20 days, the spokesperson for the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) in Geneva Marixie Mercado told reporters on Tuesday.
“It is now 20 days since we were last able to deliver health and nutrition supplies to Afrin district,” Mercado said. “Since March 6, people in Afrin city have suffered from severe water shortages as the source of water to Afrin city was reportedly damaged by fighting. UNICEF-supported water trucks have stopped delivering much needed safe water to vulnerable areas in the city since March 15 due to the escalation of violence.”
Mercado noted that while UNICEF is currently assisting some 20,000 families that were displaced to villages surrounding Afrin, some 100,000 people, half of whom are children, remain in the Afrin district and need urgent humanitarian assistance.
“UNICEF and partners are ready and able to provide this assistance, including medical items that are said to be in short supply,” the spokesperson added.
On Sunday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the Turkish army and the FSA had established full control over Afrin, which had been controlled by the Syrian Kurds.
On January 20, Ankara, jointly with the FSA, launched Operation Olive Branch in Kurdish-controlled Afrin to "clear" Turkey's border with Syria of a terrorist threat. Ankara considers the Democratic Union Party (PYD), a Kurdish political party in northern Syria, and the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) to be linked to the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), listed as a terrorist organization in Turkey.