Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has stated.that his country’s forces would soon lay siege to Syria’s northern Afrin area as Syrian pro-government forces entered the Kurdish-held border region on Tuesday.
Syria’s state news agency stated.earlier that its ‘Popular Forces’ had been deployed there to counter ‘the Turkish regime’s attack’.
Turkey’s cross-border offensive targeting a Kurdish militia in the north of Syria has now entered its second month.
Scroll down for video
President Erdogan’s warning came as Syrian-backed forces entered Afrin on Tuesday
Syria stated.that its ‘Popular Forces’ had been deployed in Afrin to counter ‘the Turkish regime’s attack’
Turkish-backed Syrian rebel fighters fire from the town of Salwah, less than six miles from the Syria-Turkey border, towards Kurdish forces from the People’s Protection Units (YPG) in the Afrin region, on February 19, 2018
Turkey has warned that in the coning days it will lay lay siege to the centre of the town of Afrin
President Erdogan has vowed to protect Turkey from what he says are subversive elements in the north of Syria
Turkey has launched an air and ground operation supporting Syrian rebels against the People’s Protection Units (YPG) in Afrin.
Turkey views the YPG as a Syrian offshoot of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has been waging an insurgency against the Turkish state since 1984.
‘In the coming days, swiftly, we will lay siege to the centre of the town of Afrin,’ Erdogan told parliament.
The Turkish President was speaking as harrowing pictures showed about 20 boys and girls killed in airstrikes carried out by the government of President Bashar-al-Assad on the rebel-held enclave of eastern Ghouta.
His warning also came as an artillery shell landed in Afrin while a correspondent for the Lebanese-Hezbollah al-Manar TV was filing a report.
On Monday Erdogan warned his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin that Syria will face ‘consequences’ if it wades into Turkey’s offensive in Afrin.
Erdogan told Putin that Turkey’s military operation in the northern Syrian Kurdish enclave will continue as planned during a phone call between the two leaders.
Turkey has consistently warned Syrian forces against intervening in support of the Kurds.
It is estimated that about 3.5 million people have sought refuge in Turkey since Syria’s war erupted in 2011.
As stated by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitor, Syrian rebels and Turkish forces have taken 45 villages since the start of the operation, most of them bordering Afrin.
And Turkish security expert Abdullah Agar told the AFP news agency that troops involved in operation “Olive Branch” had captured about 120 square miles of territory.
Over the past month, 205 Syrian rebels have been killed, along with 219 YPG and allied fighters and 112 civilians, Observatory figures show.
The Turkish army says 32 of its troops have been killed since the offensive was launched.
Ankara strongly denies there have been any civilian casualties.
While some commentators say Turkey and pro-Ankara Syrian rebels have made slow advances, President Erdogan insisted the operation had been a success, saying the army wanted to avoid putting the lives of troops and civilians needlessly ‘at risk’.
‘We did not go there to burn it down,’ he said, adding that the operation’s aim was to ‘create a safe and liveable area’, where Syrian refugees in Turkey could conceivably return.