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Turkey and allied Syrian rebel groups began their operation against the YPG in Afrin in January.
Turkey and allied Syrian rebel groups began their operation against the YPG in Afrin in January.

Turkish Warplanes Hit Pro-Syrian Gov’t Forces in Afrin, Killing 36

The airstrike, which hit a camp in Kafr Jina, marked the third time in 48 hours that Turkish warplanes had struck pro-government forces in Afrin

Turkish Warplanes Hit Pro-Syrian Gov’t Forces in Afrin, Killing 36

Turkish warplanes struck pro-Syrian government forces in the northwestern Afrin region of Syria on Saturday, killing at least 36 of them, as Turkey’s assault in the Kurdish region gathered pace, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
The pro-Syrian government forces entered Afrin last week in support of the Kurdish YPG militia, the stated target of the operation launched by Turkey and allied Syrian rebel fighters in January, Reuters reported.
The Observatory said the airstrike, which hit a camp in Kafr Jina, marked the third time in 48 hours that Turkish warplanes had struck pro-government forces in Afrin.
The Syrian Democratic Forces, a YPG-led militia alliance, said in a statement that Turkish air strikes had targeted positions held by the Syrian army’s “popular forces” from 5 a.m. (0300 GMT) until 10 a.m. (0800 GMT).
It did not say where or give a death toll.
On Friday, Turkish warplanes attacked pro-Syrian government forces overnight, killing at least 17 people in a village in the north of the Afrin region.
The dead included three YPG members, while the rest came from militias that support President Bashar al-Assad and entered Afrin last week to help repel the Turkish offensive, the Observatory said.
The Turkish military declined to comment on the Observatory report, but the Turkish state-run Anadolu news agency reported on Friday that Turkish attack helicopters had killed nine YPG fighters in the west of Afrin.
Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said his country’s forces had captured the town of Rajo from militants. The Observatory said the Turkish army was in control of about 70% of the town, about 25 km (16 miles) northwest of Afrin.
The SDF statement said a group of Turkish forces and allied Syrian factions had infiltrated Rajo, where it said clashes were continuing between SDF forces and the attackers.
Turkey and allied Syrian rebel groups began their operation against the YPG in Afrin in January, aiming to drive out the Kurdish militia, which Ankara sees as a terrorist group linked to an insurgency inside Turkey’s borders.
Despite making slow progress at first, the offensive has gained control over all Afrin’s border areas adjoining Turkey. Late on Thursday, the Turkish military said eight Turkish soldiers had been killed and 13 injured in clashes in Afrin.
Last month, after the YPG asked the Syrian government to send its army to repel the offensive, pro-Syrian government militias crossed into Afrin and deployed along the frontlines with Turkey.
However, the move did not deter the Turkish offensive and has not so far heralded any wider escalation involving the Syrian government and the forces that support it.
***What Turkey Wants
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan claims to have an iron-clad mandate due to a deal that was brokered behind closed doors between Ankara and Moscow "greenlighting" this latest incursion into Syria.
He stated on TV in January, "We are determined. Afrin will be sorted out. We will take no step back. We spoke about this with our Russian friends. We have an agreement," although Moscow never confirmed that such a deal took place, RT reported.
Salih Muslim, Syrian Kurd and politician, said, “We stated from the beginning we have no relations with anybody, we are just thinking of Syria, and there is no PKK in Syria in Afrin. The people are defending in Afrin—they are just the sons and daughters of Afrin."
Other prominent Kurds have also spoken out, echoing Muslim’s assertion, suggesting that Turkey’s claim of 10,000 PKK terrorists occupying Afrin is a gross exaggeration, which if true, means that Turkey has launched a war of aggression on false pretenses.

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