Turkey, Free Syrian Army make advances in Afrin


A total of 3,347 Syrian Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) militants have been "neutralized" since the start of "Operation Olive Branch" in Syria's northwestern Afrin district, the Turkish General Staff said in a statement on the morning of March 12.

The clarification came after the Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that the USA was considering permanent cutbacks at the Turkish base due to tensions between the two countries over the Syrian conflict.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday said his forces would be inside Afrin in a matter of days, but for humanitarian reasons they were taking their time to strategize and prevent civilian deaths. "Where are you? You've invited NATO-member states to Afghanistan", Erdogan said.

The operation was launched in response to the USA announcing its intention to establish a permanent, 30,000 strong patrol along the Turkish-Syria border, much of which would be made up of SDF fighters.

Later in the day, TSK announced the joint forces had liberated another four villages: Jalama village in southwest Afrin, Barlana and Habol in the northwest of Afrin, and Al Qarah. Unfortunately, until now, there has not been a positive word or voice.

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Erdogan also stressed that Turkey's only goal in Syria was "fight against terrorism" and that it would withdraw its troops after this goal had been obtained.

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation members not only show no support towards Turkey's Operation Olive Branch and would even openly oppose Ankara's actions in Syria, but did not have the guts to do so, Erdogan claimed.

Washington has repeatedly called upon Turkey to stop its "aggression" against the Afrin region, omitting the fact that the US-led coalition itself spent years in Syria without any invitation from the government or global approval.

Qamishli is seen as the main town of the YPG-controlled region. A report in Aljazeera says that residents of Afrin plan on creating a human chain to protect YPG fighters against Turkey's assault on the city.

On Saturday, global activists and Kurdish communities in foreign countries marched and protested against what they called the Turkish aggression against Afrin and European arms trade with Turkey.