The Turkish army and its allies seized the northern Syrian city of Afrin from the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) Sunday morning after almost two months since the Turkish “Olive Branch” military operation began on January 20.
Relations between Turkey and the United States have become strained as the U.S. has joined with the Kurds to fight Islamic State militants. Kurdish YPG officials were not giving up, however, vowing guerilla resistance to the Turkish occupation.
“We are not permanent there (in Afrin) and we are certainly not invaders”.
A Turkish armed forces Twitter page posted a video of troops displaying the nation’s flag in Afrin’s centre.
Almost two months after launching an offensive on the Kurdish territory, he announced that the Turkish flag and that of Syrian opposition fighters had been raised in the town.
Turkish forces took complete control of Afrin town centre early Sunday morning as part of the Operation Olive Branch.
Bekir Bozdag, the spokesman of Turkish government has said that the military campaign would continue to secure areas around Afrin and make sure food and medicine were available. “We’re removing mines and auto bombs, and setting up checkpoints to protect people”. “The people who fled Afrin due to YPG persecution also started to return their home now”, he said.
The operation was a turnabout for the Syrian fighters, who had originally taken up arms to fight their government and are now fighting Syrian Kurds who had sought a measure of autonomy in Syria. Indeed, according to Voice of America, minority groups, including the Druze and Yazidi, fear that those Sunni Muslim militias that support the Turkish Army could help to bring back elements of ISIS and al-Qaeda to Afrin.
Syria’s Kurdish militia says a British woman who had joined their ranks to fight in the northern town of Afrin has been killed in a Turkish airstrike. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based war monitor, said pockets of YPG fighters were defying orders to withdraw, but Turkish forces were in control.
“They tell us to fight only against terror organizations listed on the U.N.’s terror list”.
The Turkish military’s victory in Afrin coincided with the anniversary of a more decisive battle victory for Turks, the battle of the Dardanelles in World War I, which ended with victory of the Ottoman army against the Allied forces in 1915. A pro-government activist in Zahraa confirmed the refugee exodus, which the United Nations said numbered nearly 25,000 people.
She travelled to Syria last May to join the YPJ, an all-female brigade of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG).
It added that the administration had in recent days ordered civilians out of the city to avoid a “humanitarian disaster”.
Erdogan has long insisted that Manbij is next. From August 2017, a Russian force prevented a Turkish assault, as Moscow looked to build leverage against both Turkey, a party to peace talks hosted by Russia in Sochi, and the United States.