Turkey, Free Syrian Army make advances in Afrin

Frederick Owens
March 13, 2018

Turkish Armed Forces waging Operation Olive Branch against Kurdish militants in northeastern Syria are 1.5 kilometers (0.93 miles) away from Afrin, local media reported Monday.

Turkey's leader has scorched North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies over their failure to support his "counter-terrorist" operation in the Kurdish-held Syrian region of Afrin, but expressed gratitude that they at least had no guts to openly oppose Ankara.

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Turkey's objective has put it in direct contrast to U.S.'s objective of building a force to stabilize the region.

Erdogan asked. "We came in response to the calls on Afghanistan, Somalia and the Balkans, and now I am making the call, let's go to Syria".

Afrin has been suffering from constant attacks by warplanes and artillery shelling since the operation began in January 20, causing the death of about 204 civilians, including Kurds, Arabs and Armenians.

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Now, the city's population is also suffering from water and electricity shortages, as the Turkish military seized the Midanki Dam, which provides these basic needs to Afrin and its surroundings. Jamie Janson is a British volunteer with the Syrian Kurdish militia, the YPG, in the Afrin region.

The aim of the operation is to "free" the area from the YPG, a Kurdish militia the Turkish government considers the Syrian branch of the outlawed rebel group the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and a terrorist organization.

Qamishli is seen as the main town of the YPG-controlled region.

"The events in the region can stoke passions among Kurds living here in Germany", a ministry spokeswoman said, noting that conflicts between Turks and Kurds were also playing out in Germany, which is home to about 3 million people with ties to Turkey, including many ethnic Kurds.

"In fact, they would openly oppose Turkey in Syria if they could".

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