A Turkish-backed Syrian sniper takes aim as the fighters enter the village of Baay south of Afrin on March 22. Photo: Omar Haj Kadour/AFP
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Kurdish forces in Afrin claimed a deadly attack against Ankara-backed militias Sunday morning in their resistance against Turkish control of the canton.
Brusk Hasake, spokesperson for the YPG in Afrin, said their forces conducted a special operation against Free Syrian Army (FSA) militia in an industrial area of Afrin, ANHA news agency reported.
He claimed that they killed 19 fighters belonging to Faylaq al-Sham and Ahrar al-Sharqia and destroyed four military vehicles.
The Syrian militia groups have not immediately commented on the incident.
This was the latest of nine attacks on the Turkish-backed Syrian militias in the last three days, Hasake added, claiming they have killed at least 60 fighters.
“We, the YPG forces, will continue activities against the Turkish invasion in all Afrin region until the region is fully cleared of mercenaries,” he declared.
Turkey claimed to have taken full control of Afrin canton on Saturday, two months after launching tis Operation Olive Branch. Ankara framed its operation as a counter-terror offensive, labeling the YPG and the ruling political party PYD as branches of the PKK, a named terror organization.
The Kurdish groups deny the terror charge.
After withdrawing from Afrin city last week, the YPG said they would wage a guerrilla-style campaign against “occupying” forces.
Turkey has denied they intend to occupy the territory.
“Nobody can say ‘Turkish army and Turkey are carrying out an invasion of Syria,’” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday, Anadolu Agency reported.
He vowed that Turkey will not end its operation under they “rescue our brothers in Syria.” He has previously threatened to take the military operation eastward across the self-autonomous Kurdish region Rojava and across the border into Iraq.