Syria Kurdish town residents flee Turkey advance

BEIRUT (AP) — Hundreds of residents of the Kurdish enclave in northern Syria under Turkish assault are trickling out of Afrin’s center toward neighboring villages amid an intensifying offensive.

Arab and Turkish TVs broadcast images Thursday of residents leaving Afrin center in cars and on foot.

Lebanon-based Mayadeen TV spoke with distraught residents. Some said they are going to neighboring villages to fetch food and bread. The Turkish DHA TV showed trucks loaded with personal belongings lining the road out Afrin.

Turkish forces intensified their shelling of Afrin on Wednesday, after the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he hoped to totally encircle the town by the evening. Shells slammed into the town center after dusk Afrin Wednesday, killing at least seven people and deepening the fear of a ground assault.

Turkey considers the Kurdish militia in charge of Afrin a threat to its national security.