World News

Turkish forces close in on city center of Syria's Afrin

Turkish forces close in on city center of Syria's Afrin

Until the most recent military intervention by Turkey, Afrin had been relatively calm during the Syrian civil war, as local government and militias started their own political project and defense strategies against other insurgent and Islamist groups, becoming a safe spot for Syrians fleeing from other regions.

The Syrian regime has chosen to ally itself with the Kurdish YPG in its fight against Turkey in Afrin, despite being at odds elsewhere in Syria. It is part of the wider territory known as Rojava, held by Kurds and their allies.

Over the last 48 hours, Afrin city has reportedly been targeted by Turkish air raids, water has been cut off, and the internet severed. "Where are you? You've invited NATO-member states to Afghanistan", Erdogan said. NATO, Turkey is not a NATO country? "We are constantly harassed by terror groups on our borders". Is this friendship? Is this North Atlantic Treaty Organisation unity?

The US, who has supported the YPG in its campaign to defeat the Islamic State in Syria, does not agree with Ankara's designation and has called on Turkey to limit its operations. NATO, Turkey is not a NATO country?

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Washington has repeatedly called upon Turkey to stop its "aggression" against the Afrin region, omitting the fact that the US-led coalition itself spent years in Syria without any invitation from the government or worldwide approval. "Turkey will fight terrorists anywhere they operate", he added. In January, U.S. had announced plans to help the Kurdish militia form a 30,000-strong "border security force" which was received in Ankara with alarm and anger.

The YPG too denies any direct organisational links to Turkey's PKK- an assertion backed by a US -led coalition whose air strikes have helped the militia and allied Arab fighters drive Islamic State militants out of tens of thousands of square kilometres of Syria.

Qamishli is seen as the main town of the YPG-controlled region.

On Saturday, worldwide activists and Kurdish communities in foreign countries marched and protested against what they called the Turkish aggression against Afrin and European arms trade with Turkey.


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