Turkey Forces Encircle Syria’s Afrin: Report

Turkey Forces Encircle Syria’s Afrin: Report

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Turkey's army has surrounded the city of Afrin in northwestern Syria, the main target of Turkey's aggression against the Arab country’s northwestern region, a report said.

The Turkish military said on Tuesday that forces encircled Afrin and also gained the control "areas of critical importance" in the region as of Monday, Al Jazeera reported.

Ankara, which has been waging the so-called Operation Olive Branch against the US-backed Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) militants in flashpoint region since January 20, has said the offensive could extend to Manbij and beyond.

The military intervention came after the US said it would set up a 30,000-strong militant border force at Turkish doorstep. Ankara is wary of the presence of Kurdish militants close to its borders in Syria, and has been opposed to Washington's efforts to train and arm them in the Arab country.

Ankara views the YPG as the Syrian branch of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) militant group that has been fighting for an autonomous region inside Turkey since 1984.

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has repeatedly said that Afrin should be cleared of “terrorists,” and demanded the deployment of Turkish troops there during a speech back in November 2016.

The Syrian government has condemned the Turkish offensive against Afrin, rejecting Ankara’s claim about having informed Damascus of the operation.

Operation Olive Branch is Turkey's second major military intervention in Syria during the unprecedented foreign-backed militancy that broke out in 2011.

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