Turkish forces push into Syria as Kurds fight back

Turkey awaits Russian permission for aerial campaign on Afrin Kurds

Earlier on Thursday, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim called on the U.S.to abandon ideas of a Syrian Kurdish border force, saying that Washington has been inconsistent in its statements about its plans.

Kinik said Red Crescent staffers are taking necessary measures in coordination with Turkish Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency (AFAD) to provide multi-dimension humanitarian assistance and protection to civilians during the "Operation Olive Branch".

Earlier, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag said the United States is openly supporting the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) and the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) terrorist groups in Syria.

"All the Turkish military's ground attacks against Afrin have been repelled so far and they have been forced to retreat", Nouri Mahmoudi, a YPG official, said. At least 70 Turkish soldiers have been killed since then, most in battles with the Islamic State group, which has since been driven from almost all the territory it once held in Syria.

Authorities in Turkey say the attack is to oust the Kurdish fighters from Syria.

Turkey-backed Free Syrian Army rebel factions had captured a Kurdish village with no resistance and were clearing landmines, a Turkish official said.


Syria's air force suffered a number of plane and helicopter losses in the government's war on opposition areas inside the country and the Islamic State group.

The group controls Afrin, in Syria's northwestern Aleppo province, as well as a swath of territory to the east along Turkey's border. The region has been run by the Kurdish YPG since 2012 and is seen in Ankara as the beginnings of an independent state with U.S. backing.

Turkish warplanes have launched airstrikes on Kurdish fighters in northern Syria, prompting alarm in Russian Federation and the United States.

It added that the strikes on the Syrian-Kurdish YPG militia hit some 108 targets.

Turkey has prepared around 10,000 Syrian fighters to storm Afrin, according Rami Abdurrahman, director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitoring group.

A Turkish military statement said Gen. Hulusi Akar and intelligence chief Hakan Fidan would meet with Russia's military chief, Valery Gerasimov, to discuss regional security issues, the latest developments in Syria and ongoing peace efforts for the war-torn country.

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