Turkish offensive in Syria puts civilian lives 'at risk'
Turkey's imminent military offensive in northeast Syria will put civilian lives at risk, Amnesty International said on Wednesday, urging Ankara to refrain from "indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks".
Turkey said on Tuesday that it would begin its long-threatened offensive "soon", after Trump gave what was widely seen as a green light at the weekend, ordering the pullback of US troops who had previously served as a buffer.
The international community has expressed concern about the planned operation amid fears it could spark the resurgence of the Islamic State extremist group and have a dire humanitarian impact on civilians.
"Turkey has an obligation under international humanitarian law to take all possible measures to protect civilians and to ensure they have access to humanitarian aid. Civilians wishing to flee the fighting must be given safe passage to do so," Amnesty International said on Wednesday.
The rights group urged all parties to respect international law and refrain from carrying out attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure.
"The international community must take measures to ensure respect for international humanitarian law by the Turkish authorities and pro-Turkey armed groups and Kurdish forces if yet another humanitarian catastrophe in northern Syria is to be avoided."
Last year, Amnesty International documented indiscriminate attacks by Turkish military forces and allied armed groups in Afrin and Azaz, which were captured last year.
Mass shelling of residential areas have killed scores of civilians, during the Turkish-Syrian military operation in north-western Syria.
Turkey sent troops into Syria in early 2018 to root out the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) militia in the Afrin enclave.
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