Turkey Seizes the Control of Afrin

Free Syrian Army (FSA) Fighter in Syria. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Free Syrian Army (FSA) Fighter in Syria. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

The Turkish forces and the Free Syrian Army (FSA) have seized the control of Afrin from the Syrian-Kurdish forces.

BBC reported that the “fighters (pro-Turkey) waved flags and tore down the statue of a legendary Kurdish figure after claiming the city center on Sunday.”

Turkey launched its so-called Operation Olive Branch on January 20 to remove the Kurdish fighters from Afrin and ‘secure its borders’.

Turkey regards YPG as a terrorist organization and an extension to PKK, a Kurdish guerrilla group outlawed and designated as a terrorist organization by Turkey and U.S.

The U.S.-Turkey relations recently reached its lowest abyss over U.S. supporting and training the YPG fighters despite the Turkish insistence to remove the group from Afrin. Turkey repeatedly urged the U.S. to abandon the YPG that the U.S. declined.

The United States has been a key YPG ally in its fight against ISIS, a vicious terrorist organization. Turkey, however, doesn’t like this coalition very much.

Turkey regards YPG as an extension of the PKK, a leftists Kurdish group based in the southeastern part of Turkey, engaged in rebellion against the Turkish state for decades resulting tens of thousands of casualties in Turkey over the last few decades.

The human rights activists have demanded that 280 civilians have died in the Turkish offensives which Ankara has denied so far.

“Our special forces and members of the Free Syrian Army are cleaning the remains and the traps they left behind,” the Turkish President Erdogan said. “In the center of Afrin, symbols of trust and stability are waving instead of rags of terrorists.”

Earlier, Mr. Erdogan announced that the Turkish forces will not stop capturing Afrin.

“We are in Afrin today; we will be in Manbij tomorrow. The next day we will ensure that the east of Euphrates will be cleared of terrorists up to the Iraqi border,” the Turkish President said.

The Free Syrian Army (FSA) spokesperson Mohammad al-Hamadeen told Reuters, “Maybe Afrin will be cleared by the end of the day – it’s empty of fighters, they cleared out.”

Meanwhile, the Kurdish fighters have warned the Turkish forces of a nightmare to come.

“Our forces are present all over Afrin’s geography. These forces will strike the positions of the Turkish enemy and its mercenaries at every opportunity,” Othman Sheikh Issa, co-chair of the Afrin executive council, said in a televised statement.

“Our forces all over Afrin will become a constant nightmare for them.”


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