Turkey's Erdogan Vows Wider Offensive Against US-Backed Syrian Kurds

24 March, 2018, 16:36 | Author: Jason Torres
  • Turkish army shares 1st video from Afrin town center

Turkey's plans to expand its war against Kurdish fighters in Syria touched off strong objections from the US, whose soldiers risk becoming entangled in direct conflict with advancing Turkish forces.

Syria's seven-year war has killed more than 350,000 people and displaced more than half the country's population either inside Syria or overseas - including more than three million to Turkey.

"Since yesterday when the Turkish Army and Free Syrian Army entered here our duty started for the humanitarian affairs", said AFAD's director Mehmed Gulluoglu".

An air strike by Turkish warplanes "neutralized" at least 12 militants of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in northern Iraq, the military said on Twitter on Wednesday.

Nicholas Heras, a security fellow at the Center for a New American Security said taking Afrin was a success for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who shrugged off global concern to press on with the operation.

Days after Turkish forces captured Afrin, hundreds of people gathered at a cinema in Istanbul this week for the premiere of a film about commandos battling militants in the Syrian town.

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Earlier on Monday government spokesman Bekir Bozdag said Turkish forces would return Afrin to its "real owners" after driving the YPG out.

After the Turkish military and Free Syrian Army liberated the Afrin town center from YPG/PKK and Daesh terrorists on Sunday, fresh aerial footage showed that the civilians and buildings there remained unharmed. Federica Mogherini told reporters in Brussels that worldwide efforts in Syria should be aimed at "de-escalating the military activities and not escalating them".

Shops were closed and some people left for villages outside Afrin, the main town in a pocket of Kurdish-controlled territory in northwest Syria.

The film aims to portray what Baytimur said was the heroism of Turkish soldiers in Afrin.

On Monday, the Women's Protection Units (YPJ), the YPG's all-female branch, announced that British member Anna Campbell was killed last week fighting in Afrin. Images have emerged of torched stores, and of men in uniforms and others in civilian clothes walking out of homes with household goods.

It gained the territory after defeating the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant group (ISIL, also known as ISIS) while fighting in a US-backed rebel alliance called the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). Others were seen driving away with tractors and agriculture supplies.

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