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Rudaw

Syria

Turkey takes full control of Afrin borders: monitor

By Rudaw 26/2/2018
A Turkish-backed Syrian fighter holds a picture of YPG fighter in al-Bayyah village, northeast Afrin, on February 21. Photo: Nazeer al-Khatib/AFP
A Turkish-backed Syrian fighter holds a picture of YPG fighter in al-Bayyah village, northeast Afrin, on February 21. Photo: Nazeer al-Khatib/AFP
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Turkish forces and their Syrian proxies have taken control of Afrin’s borders, cutting the Kurdish canton off from Turkey.

Turkish forces managed a “strategic advancement” on Monday, taking the last of the Afrin-Turkey border area, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Turkish forces are now in control of about 250 kilometres of the border, running from the Jarablus area on the western bank of the Euphrates River to the Atmah area in Idlib, the UK-based conflict monitor detailed. 

Turkey’s state-run media confirmed the advancement, saying that the Kurdish forces have been cut off from Turkey’s borders. 

With this advancement, forces of Turkey’s Operation Olive Branch now control some 22 percent of Afrin canton, according to Observatory figures.

They are now fighting to take control of the towns of Jandaris in southwest Afrin and Rajo in the northwest. 
 
Turkey is bringing in special forces as they move to a new stage, focusing on the populated centres. 

“The entrance of the special forces is in preparation for the new battle that is approaching,” Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag told Turkey’s NTV on Monday. 

Gendarmerie and police special forces will take part in urban fighting, Dogan news reported. 

To date Turkey has taken control of one town, Bulbul. The rest are still under YPG control.

Five civilians were killed by Turkish airstrikes on Jandaris on Monday, according to the PYD, the ruling Kurdish party in Rojava, northern Syria. The country’s state-run media confirmed the deaths. 

The YPG-led SDF reported clashes that went on for hours in villages near Jandaris. The Kurdish forces have also carried out counter-attacks against the Turkish army and their Syrian allies. 

The intense battles come as global powers are telling Ankara that the UN Security Council’s 30-day ceasefire applies in Afrin. 

French President Emmanuel Macron told his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan that the truce must be implemented without delay

The EU’s foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini called on all players to ensure de-escalation takes place on all fronts in Syria, including Afrin. 

Turkey welcomed the Security Council’s ceasefire, but said it would not apply to its Afrin offensive, which Ankara has framed as a counter-terror operation. 

The YPG have stated they will abide by the ceasefire, but reserve the right to act in self-defence. 

Hundreds of civilian deaths in rebel-held Eastern Ghouta was one of the main factors compelling world powers to agree on the 30-day ceasefire that will allow for the delivery of humanitarian aid and medical evacuations. 

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin announced that a daily humanitarian pause in the enclave will begin on Tuesday. 

“On the instructions of the Russian president, with the goal of avoiding civilian casualties in Eastern Ghouta, from February 27 – tomorrow – from 9:00 to 14:00 there will be a humanitarian pause,” Russia’s Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu stated, according to Russian media. 

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pre-Boomer Marine brat | 26/2/2018
Erdogan and his Turkish base will not stop. He's already said, they're going to re-populate Afrin with its "true" residents. Enver Pasha must be giggling in his grave right about now.
FAUthman | 26/2/2018
There is absolutely no need for Turkey to invade the cities in Afrin now that its "security belt' is complete to secure Turkey against the alleged threat from the YPG. It is time for Russia to step in and prevent the disasters that could ensue in cities like Jandaris, Afrin and other densely populated centers if Turkey with its massive air support would invade them. Russia should give Turkey an ultimatum : "stop where you are at the borders or your aircraft will be shot down!!!
Eugene | 26/2/2018
What does Turkey really want?----A New Ottoman Empire....(and perhaps to win the elections very strongly) ...Why don't the Turks And the Kurds begin to work for an New Ottoman Empire...in exchange for joining a confederacy of this New Ottoman Empire they would have freedom...adding the Kurds would place the New Ottoman Empire near Arab entities..and Jordan..they could ally with Jordan...and be near the Red Sea,the Gulf countries & Israel(Judea).....
walter | 26/2/2018
Been reading a bit about the systemic mandatory sodomization from the highest authorities of the Ottoman "empire". I would rather see Turkey become another "Libya" than see a restoration of Ottoman ideals. Remember Vlad the impaler.
guest2002 | 27/2/2018
turks are mere savages.they have shown that over and over.the only language they understand is force.make them feel the pain in Istanbul,izmir and Ankara.believe me those Turkish savages will change their minds quick!!!
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