Published: Sun, March 11, 2018
Global | By Enrique Rogers

Turkish Forces Set for Assault on Key Kurdish-Held City in Syria

Turkish Forces Set for Assault on Key Kurdish-Held City in Syria

Turkey has warned that the Afrin offensive could expand to the nearby Syrian city of Manbij.

Turkish state media said Turkey's advance continued on Friday, with the forces now on the edge of the Afrin municipal district.

The US forces in Manbij have recently resisted Turkey's calls for them to leave the area.

Turkey launched operation "Olive Branch" on January 20 against the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), a powerful militia that controls the Afrin region in northwest Syria and which Ankara regards as a "terror group".

"The entire [area] is 2,000 square kilometer".

Turkish authorities often use the word "neutralised" in their statements to imply the terrorists in question either surrendered or were killed or captured.

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Erdogan noted that a total of 815 square kilometres (506 square miles) have been cleared from the terrorists so far.

The Turkish operation in Afrin will be completed by May, after which the military may look to move into Iraq, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu announced yesterday, according to state news agency TRT World.

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

"Now the centre of Afrin is surrounded and our entry is imminent", Erdogan said in televised speech in Ankara. "Where there are terrorists, we'll be there", he added, referring to Syrian Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG).

In August 2016, Turkey began a unilateral military intervention in northern Syria, code-named Operation Euphrates Shield, sending tanks and warplanes across the border.

Turkey is now engaged in a cross-border offensive in Syria to drive out Kurdish fighters it considers to be an extension of the PKK.

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