Erdogan: Turkish troops on the verge of entering Afrin

Hannah Rogers
March 11, 2018

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday said Turkish forces and allied rebels could enter the centre of the Kurdish-held Syrian town of Afrin "at any moment", a day after capturing another strategic town.

The Turkish military campaign succeeded in capturing three towns on Saturday, becoming thus in control of 221 towns and villages since the "Olive Branch" operation launched on January 20, the Observatory said.

Despite the nationwide Syrian cease-fire brokered by the United Nations Security Council on February 24, Turkey has intensified attacks to dislodge the main Syrian Kurdish militia, the YPG.

"Then we will also clear Manbij, Ayn al-Arab, Tal Abyad, Resulayn and Kamisli of terrorists, Erdogan added, naming other Syria cities near Turkey's borders".

"We are advancing toward Afrin [city center]".

"By May, the operation in Afrin will come to an end", Çavuşoğlu is quoted as saying by Turkish media.

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Nauert added that, "This is an introductory meeting where we can start to hopefully work out some of these issues".

Erdogan noted that a total of 815 square kilometres (506 square miles) have been cleared from the terrorists so far.

Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Thursday Turkish forces would complete the Afrin offensive by May and would carry out a joint operation against the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) militants in Iraq with Baghdad.

Turkish public opinion in favour of the USA is low according to a poll published yesterday by the Centre for American Progress, which found 83 per cent of Turks view America unfavourably and 46 per cent believe the country should do more to confront it.

Turkey is now engaged in a cross-border offensive in Syria to drive out Kurdish fighters it considers to be an extension of the PKK.

Despite encountering fierce resistance - which has caused the death of 42 Turkish troops - Turkey's military and its Syrian allies appear to have gained new momentum in the last weeks.

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