Syrian troops pressure rebels in Ghouta as Turkey hammers Afrin

Lester Mason
March 18, 2018

Free Syrian Army (FSA) militiamen have taken control of parts of the besieged city of Afrin in the northwestern Kurdish canton after the People's Protection Units (YPG) allegedly withdrew from the area, Reuters reported, quoting the spokesman for the rebel group, Mohammad al-Hamadeen.

Syria's civil war entered its eighth year this week with heavy fighting on two fronts - around Afrin and in the rebel enclave of Eastern Ghouta, near Damascus.

Turkey on January 20 launched Operation Olive Branch to remove the PYD and the YPG as well as remaining Daesh elements from Afrin.

Erdogan said a "large number" of Kurdish fighters had "fled with their tails between their legs".

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in a speech the flags of Turkey and its Free Syrian Army allies had been raised in the center of Afrin as the "terrorists have fled".

The General Staff of the Turkish Armed Forces has not confirmed the reports yet. Erdogan has said the people of Afrin will return.

But Washington has provided weapons to the YPG, which it sees as a key ally in the fight against jihadists in Syria and Turkey, with Ankara's military operation hiking tensions between the two North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies. "They are combing the streets and the houses".

It was unclear how many civilians remained in Afrin, which had been under siege for days...

However, the Turkish military in a posting on Twitter denied on Saturday that it had struck the hospital, adding that it was carrying out the campaign in a way that it would not hurt civilians.

"We have more to do".

"Civilians are fleeing through the southern corridor", Abdel Rahman said. Government forces also captured the nearby town of Jisreen, it said.

The assault has killed more than 1,390 civilians in the enclave, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The Turkish military shared the first video from Afrin after taking complete control of its town center.

"It is closely being monitored that vile propaganda against the Turkish Armed Forces is being spread, falsely claiming that buildings and vehicles were set ablaze by the Turkish military".

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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