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Turkey Afrin Offensive - Operation Olive Branch

Khafee

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Turkey's Land Forces to Carry Out 'Necessary Activities' in Syria on Sunday - PM
20.01.2018

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Turkish Prime Minsiter Binali Yildrim stated that nearly all targets had been destroyed with air strikes as part of the military operation in Syria's Afrin.

Turkey's Prime Minister said in a statement that land forces are expected to carry out "necessary operations" in Syria's Afrin on Sunday depending on developments in the region.

"Today our air force hit most of the designated targets. Tomorrow, depending on the circumstances, out ground forces will carry out the necessary work. They will move together with the Free Syria Army," Yildirim told reporters.

On January 20, Yildirim said that Turkish warplanes have bombed YPG, PYD targets in the Syrian city of Afrin. Responding to reporters' questions hours after Turkish armed forces kicked-off an operation against Kurdish forces, Yildirim said the military had destroyed nearly all targets it identified in the region with air strikes.

"Out of 113 designated targets of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) Kurdish Syrian terrorist group, 108 have been destroyed as of 18:30 [15:30 GMT]. All the killed and wounded people, who have been sent to hospitals, are members of terrorist groups," the statement of the Turkish General Staff read.

The Syrian government has denounced the operation as a violation of the country's sovereignty, denying claims by Ankara that it has informed Damascus of this offensive.

"The Syrian Arab Republic decisively condemns Turkish aggression against the town of Afrin, which is an inseparable part of Syria," the statement said, as quoted by the SANA news agency.

Turkey has been threatening to launch an operation in Afrin since last week after the US announced it was going to start training a border security force composed of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), affiliated with the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), which Ankara considered as a terrorist group.

https://sptnkne.ws/g6bZ
 

Atalay

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After 3 days after heavy airstrikes and shellig. First strategic areas conquered. 1 sergeant martyred , FSA martyres number unknown.
First airstrike was done with 72 jets and 100 % hit rate.

Most accurate map this night

1516680049473.png


Watch the video, airstrike was direct hit with a Popeye misille and destroyed amain ammo storage fortifie cave system.


Foreign Stalinist terrorists on their was to Afrin from Hasaka


USA pact with terrorists :


Centcom General VOTEL to coordinate "humanitarian aid" together with McCurk in Kobane Turkish Border LOL


Government Command Center

https://twitter.com/Acemal71/status/955563171703640065
 

Khafee

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Syrian Democratic Forces Down Turkish Chopper in Afrin - Reports
27.01.2018

The Syrian Democratic Forces have downed a Turkish helicopter in the Syrian city of Afrin, an SDF representative told Sputnik Saturday.

Earlier this day, the SDF reported that the group's militia had downed two Turkish reconnaissance Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) in the village of Adama, northern Syria.

Turkey has been conducting the Olive Branch operation in Syria's Afrin since January 20, after the US stated that it would train a border protection force comprising the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), affiliated with the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), which Turkey considers to be a terrorist group.

DETAILS TO FOLLOW

https://sputniknews.com/middleeast/201801271061119829-syria-afrin-sdf-kurds/
 

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Syrian Democratic Forces Down Turkish Chopper in Afrin - Reports
27.01.2018

The Syrian Democratic Forces have downed a Turkish helicopter in the Syrian city of Afrin, an SDF representative told Sputnik Saturday.

Earlier this day, the SDF reported that the group's militia had downed two Turkish reconnaissance Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) in the village of Adama, northern Syria.

Turkey has been conducting the Olive Branch operation in Syria's Afrin since January 20, after the US stated that it would train a border protection force comprising the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), affiliated with the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), which Turkey considers to be a terrorist group.

DETAILS TO FOLLOW

https://sputniknews.com/middleeast/201801271061119829-syria-afrin-sdf-kurds/
What type of helicopter was it?
 

Scorpion

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It seems like Turkey has failed to calculate this move. We have been hearing some stories of things gone wrong and civlians paying the price of the military operation. The exact thing some Turkish people said about Saudi led coalition op in Yemen and finger is now pointing backward.
 

Atalay

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All is proceeding as planned. Up to now 712 YPG/PKK terrorist elements were eliminated, important fortifications destroyed some roads cleaned from mines and IEDs. The reason to slow down the operation was severe weather condition in the first week. Turkish Army suffered 5 martyrs ( 1 civil truck driver), FSA 21 martyrs. The CAS with combat planes and helicopters is very effective. We can expect that end of this week some smaller urban combat operations in Raco and Cinderes will begin. YPG/PKK elements and foreign fighters withdraw to Afrin City and prepare there for a final show down and urban combat. This will happen end of February. Battle hardened and experienced Gendarmerie and Police Special Forces from Turkey , who gathered experience in Southeast Turkey especially in Cizre and Diyarbakir will participate to support Armed Forces Elite Maroons and Marines. The cleaned areas are delivered to FSA and FSA Police and FSA Special Forces from Cerablus and other units trained in Turkey. You can identify them easy , they wear green,
red (FSA Special Forces) and blue berets.

There is no kick and rush as it happened in operation ES. Primary aim is to minimize losses and avoid civilian collateral damage.

Thats the strategy

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Khafee

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Turkish president says helicopter downed in northern Syria

The Associated Press, Istanbul
Saturday, 10 February 2018

Turkey’s president has announced that a Turkish military helicopter has been “downed” in northern Syria during Ankara’s offensive on Syrian Kurdish militia there.

Speaking in Istanbul on Saturday, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan didn’t mention by name the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units or YPG but said those responsible will pay for it. The Turkish military has not made a statement.

A spokesman for the Kurdish militia, Mustafa Bali, confirmed his fighters downed the chopper in Raju, northwest Afrin.

Turkey launched a military offensive on January 20 to uproot the YPG from Afrin. Turkey considers the group an extension of an insurgency within its own borders.

Nineteen Turkish soldiers have died since the beginning of the operation.

Last Update: Saturday, 10 February 2018 - GMT 13:02

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/2018/02/10/Turkish-president-says-helicopter-downed-in-northern-Syria.html
 

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Turkey to bolster fight in Syria with new armored vehicles, helicopters
By: Burak Ege Bekdil
1 hour ago
13.02.2018

ANKARA, Turkey — Amid a costly military incursion into neighboring Syria, Turkey’s government and military leaders have endorsed plans for the acquisition of scores of new armored vehicles and a pair of utility helicopters.

Procurement officials said the armored vehicles order will support the campaign in Syria, which he said may last several months.
“Part of the Syrian theater is about asymmetrical warfare … which requires counterinsurgency systems,” he explained.

The Turkish military launched an offensive into the Kurdish enclave of Afrin in northwestern Syria on Jan. 20, citing a terrorist threat to its neighboring provinces. Turkish officials say Operation Olive Branch will expand further east into other Kurdish-controlled areas.

Turkey considers the Kurds to be terrorists. As of Feb. 12, the military headquarters said more than 1,200 terrorists have been neutralized and 31 Turkish troops have been killed.

Turkey’s top defense procurement panel on Jan. 31 discussed and reviewed a total of 55 programs totaling $9.4 billion.

The procurement agency, the Undersecretariat for Defence Industries, or SSM, announced Jan. 31 that the programs were reviewed with a view to adding new indigenous projects to the existing portfolio. SSM said the “decisions were made” at the meeting of the Defence Industry Executive Committee, or SSIK, but did not give details.

But an SSM official said that SSIK endorsed the acquisition of two utility helicopters to replace two Sikorsky Black Hawks that had crashed. He said the planned platforms could be “new or used” and will be delivered to the Gendarmerie force.

“This will be a stop-gap solution in parallel efforts to our ongoing utility helicopter program,” the official said.
In June 2016, Turkey signed a $3.5 billion contract with Sikorsky for the co-production of a batch of 109 utility helicopters. Turkish Aerospace Industries is the local prime contractor.

Turkey selected Sikorsky for the utility program in 2011 and signed a preliminary contract in 2014, but the Turkish and U.S. sides had bargained since then over U.S. export licenses for the planned utility helicopter, the T-70 Black Hawk, which will come in two different configurations. The T-70 is the Turkish version of the international variant of the S-70 Black Hawk.

Under the 10-year utility program the T-70s will be delivered to six different users: the Land Forces, Air Force, Gendarmerie General Command, Special Forces Command, Security General Directorate and the country’s forestry department.

The SSM official said that SSIK also decided to award a contract to FNSS, an Ankara-based, privately owned armored vehicles manufacturer, for the acquisition of 170 eight-wheel drive tactical armored combat vehicles.

Industry sources estimate the contract to come between $175 million and $200 million.

FNSS is a partnership between Turkey’s Nurol Holding and BAE Systems.

SSIK also decided to open contract negotiations with another armored vehicles manufacturer, BMC, for the purchase of a batch of 700 four-wheel drive vehicles.

The contract with BMC will include the purchase of a batch of 116 Kirpis, BMC’s signature mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicle.
Industry sources said the four-wheel drive vehicle contract likely will be worth about $150 million, and the Kirpis will cost about $35 million.

Put together Turkey’s new orders for armored vehicles will reach close to $400 million.

BMC and FNSS also are rivals in a multibillion-dollar contract for the serial production of an initial batch of 250 Altays, Turkey’s first indigenous, new-generation tank in the making. The third rival is Otokar, the producer that designed and developed the Altay.

All three contenders on Feb. 8 submitted their best and final offers to SSM. The government is expected to announce its final decision on the Altay program within two months, officials say.

https://www.defensenews.com/global/mideast-africa/2018/02/12/turkey-to-bolster-fight-in-syria-with-new-armored-vehicles-helicopters/
 

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Turkey says Syrian army cannot stop its advance in Afrin
Syrian state media says pro-government forces will soon enter the northern Kurdish enclave where Turkish troops are fighting Kurdish militiamen

Mina Aldroubi
February 19, 2018
Updated: February 19, 2018 09:38 PM

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Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army fighters take up a position near the city of Afrin, north-west Syria on February 19, 2018. Khalil Ashawi / Reuters

Syrian state media said on Monday that pro-government forces were set to enter the northern Kurdish enclave of Afrin to end Turkey's ongoing offensive there.

“Popular forces will enter Afrin within hours,” reported Al Ikhbariya, Syrian state television.

The move may prompt Turkey to curtail its weeks-long ground assault against the Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces alliance, but also creates the potential for more fighting and military miscalculations.

Pro-government forces and Kurdish-led fighters have fought each other elsewhere in Syria, and Damascus opposes the Kurds’ demands for autonomy. But in Afrin they have a common enemy and a mutual interest in putting a stop to Ankara's offensive.

Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Monday that Syrian forces could not stop the Turkish army's advance.

"If the [Syrian] regime is entering there to cleanse the PKK and PYD, then there are no problems," said Mr Cavusoglu, referring to the Kurdistan Workers' Party, a Turkish Kurdish insurgent group, and the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party respectively.

But "if it comes in to defend the YPG, then nothing and nobody can stop us or Turkish soldiers," Mr Cavusoglu adding during a news conference in Jordan.

The PYD's armed wing, the People's Protection Units (YPG), is the dominating force in the SDF alliance. Ankara accuses the YPG of having links to the PKK, which has been waging a decades-long insurgency in Turkey.


wo20-Afrin-map.png

Graphic by Ramon Penas / The National

Kurdish forces have yet to confirm any imminent deployment of Syrian forces to Afrin.

But on Sunday an official from the PYD said Syrian government forces would enter Afrin on Monday following a deal struck between Damascus and the SDF.

Badran Jia Kurd, an adviser to the Kurdish-led administration that runs swathes of northern Syria, said the deal was purely military and that any political agreement would have to await further negotiations between Damascus and the Kurdish administration.

Turkish officials said President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had held a telephone conversation with his Russian counterpart during which the two men reaffirmed their determination to co-operate in the fight against "terrorism" in Syria.

Mr Erdogan and Vladimir Putin also discussed Turkey's military offensive in Afrin and the two countries' efforts to set up observation posts in Syria's northern Idlib province.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based war monitoring group, said Turkish forces and their Syrian Arab allies shelled villages in Afrin on Friday. Citing medical sources in Afrin, it reported that six people suffered breathing difficulties and dilated pupils following the shelling, indicating a suspected gas attack.

Sunday's reported deal highlights the complex situation in northern Syria, driven by rivalries and alliances between Kurdish forces, the Syrian regime, rebel groups, Turkey, the United States and Russia.

Turkey's offensive in Afrin, dubbed "Olive Branch", has seen Ankara sending troops into Syria and pounding the region with air strikes and artillery fire.

Damascus has denounced Ankara's "aggression" but until Monday had not explicitly said it would intervene.

Also on Monday, the Observatory said regime bombardment of the rebel-held Damascus suburb of Eastern Ghouta had killed at least 35 civilians in the last 24 hours.

"The regime is bombing Eastern Ghouta to pave the way for a ground offensive," said Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman.

Syrian President Bashar Al Assad has dispatched reinforcements to Eastern Ghouta in recent weeks in an apparent bid to retake the suburb, now the last opposition-controlled pocket around Damascus.


https://www.thenational.ae/world/mena/turkey-says-syrian-army-cannot-stop-its-advance-in-afrin-1.705963?mc_cid=4dc107f22f&mc_eid=fb1f092842
 

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Turkish Forces Shell Syrian Militias in Contested Kurdish Enclave
By Dorian Jones
February 20, 2018

Pro-Syrian government forces reportedly have crossed into the Kurdish-held enclave of Afrin. The deployment is in response to an ongoing military offensive by Turkish-led forces against the YPG Syrian Kurdish militia.

"The Syrian government responded to the call of duty and they sent military units today, Tuesday, 20 February, 2018, to be deployed along the borders and to be involved in defending the unity of Syrian territory," said YPG spokesman Nuri Mahmoud.

Ankara claims the convoy of several hundred heavily armed fighters was forced to retreat after coming under Turkish artillery fire.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan sought to play down the incident, claiming the fighters belonged to local militias that were acting on their own, without Damascus's support. Erdogan added the "matter was closed for now."

Damascus has not commented on the incident.

The forces being deployed to Afrin are believed to be made up of Syrian government and Iran-backed militias, including elements of Hezbollah. Unverified videos circulating on social media show heavily armed forces, including armored cars and tanks, being sent to the Kurdish enclave. One fighter reportedly declared, "We are coming for Erdogan."

Russia, Iran consulted

Erdogan said Tuesday he had warned his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, in a telephone conversation Monday that Damascus would "face serious consequences" if it sent its forces to Afrin in support of the YPG militia. On Monday, Syrian state TV reported Damascus had reached an agreement with the YPG to deploy forces to secure Afrin.

In a speech to parliamentary deputies Tuesday, Erdogan declared Afrin's main town, also called Afrin, would be put under siege in the "coming days." Erdogan also claimed after speaking to his Iranian and Russian counterparts he had thwarted an agreement between Damascus and the YPG to support the Kurdish militia against the Turkish incursion.

Last month, Ankara launched its military offensive into Afrin against the YPG militia, which it accuses of being linked to a decades long Kurdish insurgency in Turkey. Erdogan has pledged the operation would continue until the militia is removed from the enclave.

Damascus has opposed the operation, calling it a violation of its territorial integrity and pledged to resist it, but until now has not taken action.

"I don't think Ankara and Damascus are so eager for a direct confrontation," said Metin Gurcan, a Turkish defense analyst. "But the real danger, is that Turkey has the Free Syrian Army proxies and Assad has too pro-Assad militia. Those proxies have this bloody feud with one another, a clash is possible between them."

Russia calls for talks

The rising tensions pose a major headache for Russia. Moscow is a strong backer of the Assad regime, but at the same time sees Ankara as crucial to its ongoing efforts to bring an end to the Syrian civil war because of Turkey's strong ties with Syrian rebel forces.

Russian Foreign minister Sergey Lavrov said Tuesday the situation in Syria's Afrin could be resolved only through direct dialogue between Damascus and Ankara.

Erdogan has ruled out any dialogue with Assad, claiming it is impossible to speak with a man responsible for the deaths of a half-million people. Analysts argue it is a key strategic goal of Moscow to open dialogue between Ankara and Damascus in its ongoing efforts to end the civil war.

The risk of Ankara and Damascus-backed forces sliding into a direct confrontation could force Moscow into choosing sides, given it controls Syria's airspace and currently allows Turkish jets to support the ongoing offensive in Afrin.

"The Turkish operation – with jets, tanks and howitzers – has been possible so far due to the indirect support of Russia, the main ally of the al-Assad regime, together with Iran," Murat Yetkin wrote Tuesday in the Turkish daily Hurriyet.

Ultimately, Moscow could have the most at stake in the rising Turkish-Syrian tensions.

"Russia, at the end of the day, needs both Damascus on the one side of the table, and Ankara, to control the Sunni armed opposition and to turn them into a political actor, to maintain the political transformation process," noted analyst Gurcan. "I don't think Moscow will let the destruction of this very fragile, very complex negotiating table which it has been constructing for more than one year."

https://www.voanews.com/a/syrian-government-troops-enter-kurdish-enclave-of-afrin/4262394.html
 

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Why Damascus and Kurdish militias have made a pact allowing regime-aligned forces to enter Afrin

For Turkey, merely a month into its offensive, it is too early to accept a deal that only strengthens the hand of the YPG in the city


by Hassan Hassan
February 21, 2018


A month into the Turkish operation in the northwestern Syrian city of Afrin, Damascus and the Kurdish militias there reached a deal that would allow regime-aligned forces to enter the city. What followed could be one of the most confusing episodes in the Syrian conflict.

Let’s start from the beginning. For Turkey, Afrin is where the worst of the YPG, the Kurdish People’s Protection Units, are domiciled. The enclave that includes the city became the most significant sanctuary for veterans of the Kurdish PKK currently operating in Syria, especially west of the Euphrates river. Afrin is also where the Kurdish militia does not enjoy the protection of the US.

These concerns made Afrin an ideal target for Turkey under current limitations. At the same time, it remains unlikely that Turkey will be able to storm the city. And if it does, it would be even more unlikely to control it. Instead, as I explained last week, Turkey seeks to bring about a lasting settlement that would address its national security concerns in that area. To do so, it has three main objectives: to compel the Kurdish militants to somehow cede control of the city, to establish a security belt along its borders north and west of Afrin and to push the Americans to take its concerns more seriously.

In recent days, Turkey seems to have edged closer to achieving all three goals at once. American policymakers have become more anxious about a Turkish assertive stance in Syria and an outreach effort is underway to bridge the divergence between the two Nato partners. Russia and the YPG had also resumed talks to allow the Syrian regime to enter Afrin, through various formulas negotiated by the two sides. Finally, Turkey got close, but not completely, to ending the Kurdish presence along its borders to the north and west of Afrin. Once complete, those gains would link the zone it created in the summer of 2016 known as the Euphrates Shield with the border stretch created during Operation Olive Branch over the past month.

wo22-Afrin-battleground-21-02-18.png

Ramon Penas / The National

Then a curious announcement was made by the Syrian regime on Monday. The state news agency Sana reported that an agreement has been reached between the YPG and Damascus that involved the entry of “popular forces” into Afrin to help repel the Turkish “aggression”. Turkish officials had initially welcomed the agreement with a major caveat, namely that the regime’s entry would only be accepted if it meant the end of the YPG’s control in Afrin. Not long after, statements out of Ankara took a more aggressive tone.

That Turkey would welcome the Syrian regime’s control of Afrin is indubitable. Officials have hinted at it and previously welcomed such a scenario in places like Manbij and Deir Ezzor. So what caused the escalation from a cautious and conditional welcome, to unequivocal rejection, to Turkish strikes against pro-regime militias approaching Afrin? Based on sources familiar with the process, the circumstances surrounding the episode can be best understood as follows.

Both Russia and Turkey wanted the YPG to cede control of Afrin. The regime originally also wanted a deal with the YPG modelled on the “reconciliation” deals that Damascus struck with various rebel towns over the course of the conflict, including the handover of heavy weaponry, with the ability of surrendered militias to police their areas using light arms and to man their own checkpoints. The YPG had consistently rejected any deal that would allow regime forces to meaningfully control the town.

The deal reached between the YPG and Damascus achieved absolutely nothing of the outcome that Turkey had envisioned and anticipated. The plan simply meant that government-aligned “popular forces” would join YPG fighters in manning Kurdish checkpoints. At the same time, Turkey has not yet completed the establishment of the security belt near Afrin. Consequently, Turkey naturally rejected the lopsided arrangement that would achieve none of its objectives.

The only perplexing question is why Damascus would opt for such a deal. After all, the compromise that Russia and Turkey wanted would equally benefit the regime, since it would enable it to control a strategic town well-positioned near rebel strongholds. Under the current deal, the pro-regime militias would essentially serve as an auxiliary to the YPG, not the other way around, hardly a compromise by the Kurds. The YPG-Russia negotiations, on the other hand, included a plan to allow a more meaningful army presence inside Afrin with the possibility of establishing joint regime-Turkish border outposts near Turkey.

One possible explanation, offered by a Syrian source familiar with the negotiations, is that the entry of the militias was only the first stage of the regime’s incrementally growing presence in Afrin, to be achieved on the regime’s terms rather than as part of a Russia-sponsored deal that would allow Turkey to maintain the gains achieved over the past month. Despite Russia’s approval of the Turkish intervention in the north, the regime views Turkey as an invader and the Afrin operation further outraged the regime’s base. The disruptive motive by the regime is a possible explanation but this aspect remains an open question.

Aside from the regime’s reasoning, Turkey’s calculations are less ambiguous. Its escalation of the campaign in Afrin will likely continue until the YPG’s control of the city is checked and its borders are secured. Such a scenario was pursued before the Afrin assault, through a Russian proposal for the YPG to allow the regime to take over the city. Any deal that does not meet the two conditions will likely be rejected by Ankara.

For Turkey, merely a month into the Afrin operation, it is too early to accept a deal that only strengthens the YPG in the city. In this, it has Russia on its side. Similarly, the US has begun to take Turkish interests more seriously.

Taken together, Turkey is getting closer to achieving what it long failed to achieve through diplomacy in Washington and it is difficult to see why it would now accept anything less than a deal that sustainably disrupts the YPG’s project near its borders.

https://www.thenational.ae/opinion/comment/why-damascus-and-kurdish-militias-have-made-a-pact-allowing-regime-aligned-forces-to-enter-afrin-1.706716?mc_cid=845a69e122&mc_eid=fb1f092842
 

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Assad says pulling militia units to Afrin was natural reaction to Turkey’s aggression
March 04, 2018
According to Assad, Turkey’s operation in Afrin is "a new proof of Turkey’s continuing policy towards Syria"

MOSCOW, March 4. /TASS/. It was quite logical to pull Syrian militia units to Afrin located 65 kilometers off Aleppo as response to Turkey’s aggression, Syrian President Bashar Assad said on Sunday after talks with visiting Iranian Foreign Minister’s Special Assistant for Political Affairs, Hussein Jabri Ansari.

"It was a natural reaction to Turkey’s intrusion," SANA News quoted him as saying. He said that it is natural that people are getting consolidated to defeat the invaders when the Syrian army is fighting against terrorists.

According to Assad, Turkey’s operation in Afrin is "a new proof of Turkey’s continuing policy towards Syria."

Turkey’s General Staff announced on January 20 beginning of the Olive Branch operation against the Kurds’ units near Afrin, where about 1.5 million Syrian Kurds live.

http://tass.com/world/992702
 

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