Assad forces shell Turkish positions in Syria

Assad forces shell Turkish positions in Syria

Most recently, according to Turkish General Staff, Turkish forces surrounded the Kurdish-held Syrian city of Afrin in the course of its Operation Olive Branch.

Ankara launched an offensive almost two months ago against the town, to drive out Syrian Kurdish forces that control the northern region near Turkey's border.

On Aug. 24, 2016, Turkish Armed Forces, with the support of the Syrian opposition, launched the Euphrates Shield Operation against the IS militants and liberated the city of Jarabulus as well as the city of Al-Bab in northern Syria.

Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday said he hoped the northern Syrian town of Afrin would "fall by evening" to Turkish forces and rebel allies.

The YPG, the Kurdish force defending Afrin, dismissed Erdogan's statements.

But the YPG has been a key ally of the United States in the fight against jihadists in Syria and Turkey's operation against it has raised tensions with Ankara's North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies in Washington and Europe.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian warned Turkey on Tuesday that the scale of its offensive may be disproportional.


"In no circumstances does it justify military operations that put civilian populations in danger", he added, branding the situation in Afrin "critical".

It is also calling on the British Government to do more to help the people in the region who they say have been subjected to repeated shelling and bombing.

The military also said only terror targets are being destroyed and that "utmost care" is being taken to avoid harming civilians.

"We will allow civilians.to leave so they will not be hurt in case (Kurdish) fighters hold out in the villages, neighbourhoods, or buildings inside Afrin", he told AFP. "Soon, we will stomp very strongly on the terrorists there", he said.

Thousands of people had started to flee Afrin on Monday as the Turkish troops got closer to the town, heading toward nearby government-controlled areas.

Turkey's operation in northern Syria envisages clearing the area of the Kurdish People's Protection Units, considered by Ankara as an part of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which Turkey considers as a terrorist organization.

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