Turkey launches offensive against Kurds in Syria

Lester Mason
January 21, 2018

Syria said on Thursday its air defense would shoot down any Turkish jets that carry out attacks within Syria, a stark warning as tensions soar over apparent preparations by the Turkish military to invade a northern Syrian Kurdish enclave.

The YPG's growing strength across a swath of northern Syria has alarmed Ankara, which fears the creation of an independent Kurdish state on its southern border.

President Erdogan declared the launch of a "de facto" campaign for Afrin today as witnesses reported a convoy of Turkish-backed Syrian rebels heading to Afrin on trucks mounted with machineguns.

An advance on Manbij by North Atlantic Treaty Organisation member Turkey would pit two close USA allies against one another, adding another front to the already complex Syrian civil war.

As if it were a political game, USA authorities, who previously said that the deployment of their troops in Syria was aimed at fighting the Islamic State (now defeated), have not withdrawn their forces. The Observatory said the Turkey-backed forces have entered Shankal and are clashing with the Kurds.

Less than seven days after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey threatened military offensive on Syria, Turkish jets have attacked Kurdish militia observation posts in the Syrian town of Afrin.

Ankara launched a series of strikes on YPG positions in Afrin on Friday night and early Saturday, as Turkish diplomats and generals attempted to win the support of Russian Federation and the West for the campaign.

There was damage to one building that caught fire and one woman was slightly injured in the rocket fire on the town of Kilis, the Dogan news agency said.

Turkey has been preparing for a showdown in Afrin for a while.

After the USA administration announced its objective, underpinned by a statement by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson later, the Syrian Foreign Ministry condemned the illegal action. He said Turkey would launch a military offensive against the enclave of Afrin and other Syrian Kurdish militia-controlled territories, and was massing troops and tanks on its border.

Reuters cameramen in Hassa, near the border with Syria, heard the sound of heavy bombardment and saw thick plumes of smoke rising from the Syrian side of the border.

The operation sees Ankara confronting Kurdish fighters allied to the United States at a time when relations between Turkey and Washington - NATO allies and members of the coalition against Isil - appear dangerously close to a breaking point.

A truck, part of a convoy, carrying military pickup trucks with machine guns attached is seen on the outskirts of the village of Sugedigi, Turkey, Sunday, Jan. 21, 2018.

Turkey reacted to that plan by announcing direct military operations against the Units of Protection of the Kurdish People (YPG) in the region of Afrin, in northwestern Syria, which Ankara considers a terrorist organization.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

Discuss This Article