Turkey: Afrin Operation resumed in Northern Syria

Turkey has again launched airstrikes on the Kurdish-majority area Afrin in northern Syria. More than a dozen targets are destroyed and neutralised 34 rebels belonging to the Syrian Kurdish armed group named YPG and ISIS i.e. the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant. Turkish air force struck 19 trucks overnight, an operation which previously began on January 20, 2018, but was halted due to the closure of airspace by Russia after the downing of a Russian jet in the province of Idlib.

The Turkish military has maintained that only terror targets are being destroyed. However, the Syrian media maintains that civilian areas are also being brutally hit. Since January 20, Turkish media reports that about 1,062 YPG and ISIS fighters have been neutralised. Latter is the term used by Turkey to imply that the fighters were either killed, captured or have surrendered.

However, as per the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) as many as 30000 civilians have been displaced as a result of the operation in Afrin. Contrastingly, Turkey has maintained that the operation is completed in line with the international law.

YPG is regarded by Turkey as an armed group which is trained and supported by the US to fight ISIS is basically an offshoot of the outlawed Kurdish Workers Party. Russian Foreign office has stated that US action on Syria is a result of the provocation caused by the developments in Afrin.

Kurdish Democratic Federation of Northern Syria has been in control of the Afrin area since the start of Syrian Civil War in 2012. YPG or the People’s Protection Group have held Turkey responsible for the many cases of abuse and killing of civilians.


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