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IHH sends aid to 900 families in liberated areas in Afrin

IHH SENDS AID TO 900 FAMILIES IN LIBERATED AREAS IN AFRIN

Turkey's Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH) has delivered aid supplies to around 900 families in the recently liberated villages of Syria's Afrin region, where Turkish-led military operation has been going on.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Osman Atalay, board member of the foundation said: "Since Feb. 15, we have been distributing humanitarian supplies to [liberated] villages located between the west and the south of Jinderes [a town in Afrin]."

"So far, we've handed out supplies to around 900 families in the liberated villages," Atalay added.

The aid included food, medical supplies, beds, blankets, hygiene kits and children packages -- including diapers and infant formula.

"We, as IHH, have entered 16 villages [in Syria's Afrin region] so far. People are living in only 6 out of 16 [villages]," he said.

Villages of Dayr Sawwan, Marsava, Maydan Akbis and Kusanli are among the liberated villages, where IHH has provided supplies.

Since the launch of Operation Olive Branch on Jan. 20, the Turkish military and the Free Syrian Army have liberated 150 locations, including 120 villages, 30 strategic areas and one YPG/PKK base, according to Anadolu Agency reporter in the field on Tuesday.

According to the Turkish General Staff, the operation aims to establish security and stability along Turkey's borders and the region as well as to protect Syrians from terrorist oppression and cruelty.

"The aid supplies will continue to be delivered every month," Atalay said. "We are also sending bread to villages every day."

The IHH has three bakeries in southern provinces of Kilis, Hatay and Sanliurfa on the Syrian border, which provides bread to Syrians every day.

"A total of 360 million bread produced by IHH's bakeries were sent to needy people in Idlib, Aleppo, Hama, Latakia countryside, northern Homs, and Eastern Ghouta in 2017."

The foundation now plans to send aid to Rajo area in western Afrin, Atalay said. "Once the center of Jinderes is cleared from terror, we are also ready to take humanitarian aid to the area, which has a big population."

The IHH sent a total of 2,924 truck-loaded aid supplies to Syria's provinces of Idlib, Hama, Aleppo, Latakia countryside and Jarabulus near the Turkish border in 2017.

- EASTERN GHOUTA CRISIS
Atalay described the Syria's southwestern besieged Eastern Ghouta as "the most challenging area" in terms of people's condition and the aid distribution.

Home to some 400,000 people, Eastern Ghouta has remained under a crippling siege by the Bashar al-Assad regime for the last five years.

Within the last eight months, regime forces have stepped up their siege, making it nearly impossible for food or medicine supplies to enter the district, leaving thousands of people in need of medical treatment.

"We are able to send aid supplies to all the regions of Syria in a way but the position of Eastern Ghouta is very difficult. We could only send money as no vehicle can enter there because of the blockade," he said.

So far, the IHH board member said, around $3 million worth of aid supplies have been sent by the aid group.

Between Feb. 19 and March 5, a total of 824 civilians were killed in ground and aerial attacks on Eastern Ghouta, according to local civil defense sources.

Syria has been embroiled in a devastating civil war that has killed over 500,000 civilians and made over a million refugees.

The conflict, now in its seventh year, began as a protest by civilians calling for democratic reform.

Turkey's Humanitarian Relief Foundation, one of the nation's leading aid groups, sends humanitarian aid to suffering people in 150 countries around the world, including war-torn Syria, drought-hit Somalia, and Myanmar.

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