Turkish raids kill 10 Syria regime loyalists near Afrin: monitor

Lester Mason
March 14, 2018

While attention in recent weeks has focused on a ferocious regime assault on rebel-held Eastern Ghouta, in Syria's north Turkish forces and Syrian opposition fighters have been advancing in their offensive against the Kurdish enclave.

The Turkish military announced Monday evening that they have fully surrounded the Syrian city of Afrin.

Turkey considers the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) in Syria and its armed wing YPG to be "terrorist groups" with ties to the banned Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

The Turkish offensive opened a new front in a multi-sided civil war which enters its eighth year tomorrow.

Afrin city - the main urban centre in the YPG-controlled enclave on the Turkish border - is home to around 350,000 people, the Observatory said.

On Monday, a Turkish government spokesman said the armed forces had gained control of more than half the area and vowed to clear the Afrin town of militants.

The Turkish army launched an attack on Afrin at the end of January.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Tuesday that the Turkish-led operation in Afrin also exposed "the barbarous, cruel and killer face of the terrorist groups", which he said are using civilians as human shields and murdering children. "A transfer of population to that region to change the demographic structure is out of the question".

The surrounding of Afrin city would be a key step in Turkey's "Olive Branch" operation, launched on Jan 20 and aimed at ousting the YPG, a key partner of the US-led coalition fighting the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. Turkey considers the YPG a serious threat to its security, while the U.S. has relied on the group in the fight against Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil).

Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu was cited by broadcaster NTV and other media as saying Turkey and the United States would decide on a plan to secure Manbij during talks on March 19.

He said the YPG had already withdrawn from Manbij in 2016 and handed control to a local body, the Manbij Military Council.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

Discuss This Article