Turkish prime minister briefed over Afrin operation

Syrian Democratic Forces units gather below a banner of PKK leader Ocalan following the fall of Raqqa on 19 October 2017

Syrian Democratic Forces units gather below a banner of PKK leader Ocalan following the fall of Raqqa on 19 October 2017

The Turkish military campaign in Afrin and nearby regions was launched after the U.S. had announced its plans to train a 30,000-strong border force in northern Syria mostly from YPG fighters, which are considered as terrorists by Ankara.

Last month Turkey launched the "Operation Olive Branch" air and ground campaign against the Kurdish YPG militia in the northern region of Afrin.

Kilis and the town of Reyhanli, both of which border Afrin, Syria, have been the target of multiple rocket attacks that have killed at least four people, including a teenage girl and injured dozens of others.

Turkish forces say the northern Syrian city, which is ground zero for USA operations in support of local Kurdish and Arab forces fighting Islamic State, is a prime objective of their current campaign against Syrian Kurds.

Erdogan said in a speech Saturday that the Turkish forces were beginning to take mountain positions and would now head towards Afrin itself.

The SDF confirmed clashes have taken place in the Bulbul area and reported they have destroyed a Turkish APC armoured vehicle "and killed everybody inside in an ambush in Qarnah village in Bulbul town".

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"As fighting in Idlib and Afrin displaces thousands more, the number of Syrians trapped along the border willing to risk their lives to reach Turkey is only likely to increase", Fakih said.

The footage allegedly shows Kurdish People's Protection Unit (YPG) fighters hitting a tank with anti-tank guided missile (ATGM).

There have been numerous reports suggesting US Special Forces (SOF) teams use the insignia of Kurdish paramilitary groups.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said yesterday said that 935 'terrorists have been neutralised so far in the operation. In May a year ago, an AFP photographer made a number of images showing armed men in uniform - identified by Syrian rebels as US SOF operators - in a pickup truck equipped with an Mk 19 grenade launcher. Earlier President Erdogan said Turkey will "thwart games" on its borders and start with Manbij, Syria. "I am sure that they do not want to face Turkey and Turkish armed forces", Bozdag stated.

One witness told HRW that a woman had given birth while attempting to cross the border but that Turkish border guards sent her and the child back to Syria without providing medical assistance.

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