Turkey's Erdogan hopes its army to take Syria's Afrin by Wednesday evening

Turkey's Erdogan hopes its army to take Syria's Afrin by Wednesday evening

The Turkish offensive opened a new front in a multi-sided civil war which enters its eighth year tomorrow.

"We aim to give Afrin back to its rightful owners", President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said.

"In the president's speech the sentence "I hope that Afrin will have completely fallen by the evening" should be understood as "the encirclement will have been completed by the evening", said a presidential source in a message to media, asking not to be named. "If they do encircle the city, we will be ready for a long fight".

Turkey launched a military offensive into the border enclave on January 20 to drive out Syrian Kurdish forces that it considers to be "terrorists" and an extension of Kurdish rebels fighting inside Turkey.

The assault has anxious world powers, who fear it could detract from the fight against IS and was indiscriminately hurting civilians.

France's Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian on Tuesday warned Turkey that concerns over security "absolutely do not justify" the scale of its offensive in Syria.

Pro-Turkish forces have seized several border areas and have nearly fully encircled the city of Afrin.

"We will clear Afrin of terrorists, clear Manbij, and east of the Euphrates River to our border with northern Iraq, we will rid the terrorists from all of them the same way".

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Abu Jaafar, a commander in the pro-Ankara forces waging Operation Olive Branch, said rebels were considering leaving an "exit route" for civilians.

Turkey is riled by USA support to the YPG, and accuses the US of allegedly not fulfilling a promise to move the Syrian Kurdish fighters in Manbij east of the Euphrates River.

The move was in response to the failure of a UN-approved humanitarian ceasefire to take hold despite backing from Russian Federation, which is helping Syria's offensive in Eastern Ghouta, a rebel enclave on the outskirts of the capital.

The UN Security Council passed a resolution last month calling for a 30-day truce to allow for aid deliveries and medical evacuations from the enclave, but the ceasefire demand went unheeded.

The Syrian government and the Russian military have set up a corridor outside the besieged eastern Ghouta to arrange the evacuation from the area which is home to some 400,000 people.

"More than 2,000 civilians have arrived in the area of Nubul" controlled by pro-regime forces, it said, adding that hundreds more were still on the road.

The rebel faction controlling Eastern Ghouta's main town of Douma, Jaish al-Islam, said a group of "critical medical cases" would be evacuated though the Wafideen checkpoint at the edge of the enclave. As a fellow permanent U.N. Security Council member, Russian Federation has vetoed a number of resolutions targeting Assad's government and has accused the insurgents of shelling nearby Damascus city.

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