Erdogan announces the launch of ground operation in Syria's Afrin

Erdogan announces the launch of ground operation in Syria's Afrin

Addressing the AK Party's annual provincial congress in western city of Kutahya, Erdogan said an operation in Manbij in Syria will come after Afrin because "promises made to Turkey have not been kept".

While the United States supports Turkey's concern about a safe and secure Turkish-Syrian border, military operations by Turkey into northeast Syria will not advance regional stability, the State Department said Friday.

Nurettin Canikli told Turkey's A Haber television in an interview that the Syrian Kurdish fighters in the enclave of Afrin and other Kurdish-controlled territories pose a "real" and ever increasing threat to Turkey.

Roj said it was the heaviest Turkish bombardment since Ankara stepped up threats to take military action against the Kurdish region.

Turkish state-run media had suggested that the operation would involve airstrikes from warplanes and drones, and that Turkish-trained militia from the Free Syrian Army alliance would be first on the ground in any land offensives.

The source said that bombing had only produced "material damage", although command of Turkish armed forces claimed to have destroyed several "shelters" of Kurdish organization. Turkey considers Kurdish militias such as the People's Protection Units (YPG) terrorist organizations and has long threatened to defy the US and attack them...

Turkey considers the YPG to be an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which has carried out a deadly, decades-long insurgency in Turkey's mainly Kurdish southeast.

"The YPG and the civilians will defend Afrin to the last moment", he said.

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The operation in Afrin - bordering Turkey's Hatay and Kilis provinces - was widely expected in the wake of Turkey's Operation Euphrates Shield in northern Syria, which cleared Daesh terrorists from Turkey's border between August 24, 2016 and March 2017. Nor is re an American presence in Afrin, although according to Turkish intelligence services, American weapons have arrived at YPG forces deployed re. Nobody can object when what we do is necessary, he said. "Later we will, step by step, clear our country up to the Iraqi border from this terror filth that is trying to besiege our country".

Ankara fears the establishment of a Kurdish corridor along its border.

It is unclear whether the United States will act as a mediator between the Kurds and the Turks.

The CNN Turk reported earlier that eight Turkish fighter jets F-16 took off from the Diyarbak·r air base to bomb Kurds' position.

"There is a picture of diverging interests of Turkey and Russia", said Kerim Has, a lecturer in Turkish-Russian relations at Moscow University. Moscow is a key ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and has a contingent of soldiers at the airport in the centre of Afrin.

Russian Federation controls the airspace over Afrin.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has reportedly discussed the military offensive with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, as did Turkey's chief of military staff with his US and Russian counterparts. "In keeping with past practice, both have agreed to keep the details of their conversations private".

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