Turkey captures Syrian city of Afrin

Turkish forces have finally captured the centre of the Afrin after an intensive fight of two months since the launch of Operation Olive Branch. The offensive has claimed 280 lives of civilians and nearly 200,000 have left the area for safer government-controlled areas in Aleppo in less than 3 days. Turkish troops are now combing the streets of Afrin to look for the YPG fighters which are largely believed to have fled with the civilians. The Army is also looking for any explosive traps or landmines.

Many social media posts show Turkish flag hoisted in the city FSA fighters can be seen showing flags and making victory signs.

Afrin was under control of Kurdish YPG fighters since 2012 after Bashar Al-Assad’s forces had left it. YPG had also assisted US to fight against ISIL in Syria. Turkey, however, considers YPG a part of PKK or Kurdistan Workers’ Party which had been in conflict with Turkey since last 30 years and has killed thousands of people along its border. PKK is an internationally banned outfit. YPG has always denied having any links with PKK. It was the US plan to form a Border Security Force along the Syrian-Turkish border comprising primarily YPG fighters embittered Turkey and led to the launch of Operation Olive Branch on January 20, 2018. Turkish President Erdogan had vowed to suffocate the army of terrorists.

 

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