Febrero 21, 2018

The Syrian War Isn't About Syria Anymore

22 Enero 2018, 11:39 | Martinez Canez

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Badran Ciya Kurd, an adviser to the Kurdish administration in northern Syria who meets regularly with Russian and United States officials, told The Associated Press Sunday that Russian officials suggested that handing over the enclave, encircled by Syrian government and its rival Turkey and Syrian fighters it backs, would avert the Turkish offensive.

At the same time, hundreds of Kurdish fighters from the American-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, which has been leading the fight against the Islamic State in Syria, were assembling in towns to the east and south of Afrin, according to The Associated Press.

Yildirim was quoted as saying that the Turkish forces aimed to create a security zone some 30 kilometres (18 miles) deep inside Syria.

Much about the Turkish offensive, which the Government dubbed "Operation Olive Branch", remained unclear.

Turkish military planes bombed the Afrin region in Syria where a US -backed Kurdish militia was being created.

The Syrian Kurdish YPG militia said Turkish warplanes pounded Syria's Afrin city and several villages around it on Saturday.

Roj said there were now no clashes between Turkish forces and the YPG, "only skirmishes" at the edge of the Afrin region.

Yildrim said there are about 8,000 to 10,000 terrorists in Afrin including YPG and the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK.

Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said late Saturday that Turkish ground offensive into northwestern Syria's Afrin will likely start on Sunday, depending on developments, APA reports quoting Daily Sabah.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said Lavrov and Tillerson also discussed promoting a peaceful settlement of the Syrian conflict under the auspices of the United Nations, which should be facilitated by the Syrian National Dialogue Congress to be held in Russia's city of Sochi with broad participation.

The Syrian regime warned it would be seen as a violation of Syria's sovereignty.

"Turkey expects its allies to support its fight against terrorism in all of its forms".

He also said that Iran's support for Syria in all fields, particularly in fighting terrorism, contributed to the successes achieved by the Syrian Arab Army against terrorism. The YPG said it had repelled the Turkish forces.

It was not immediately clear who fired the rockets, though they followed Turkish airstrikes on areas under the control of the People's Protection Units, also known as the YPG. Murat Karayılan, the current leader of the PKK, also denounced Russia as an "enemy", despite the fact that the PKK has up to now accused the US of "siding with the Russians" in Syria whenever the White House has voiced a small amount of empathy for Turkey's position.

There have been reports that the U.S. was also trying to recruit Kurdish fighters in Syria to fight against ISIL.

But the risks are huge - the offensive pits Turkey against its North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally the U.S., which backs the Kurdish militia against IS, infuriating Ankara.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has reportedly discussed the military offensive with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, as did Turkey's chief of military staff with his US and Russian counterparts.

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