Turkey warns Syria troops it will fight in Afrin


Syrian government forces have yet to enter the Afrin region and it was unclear if they would, Turkey's foreign minister said on Tuesday.

Badran Jia Kurd, an adviser to the Kurdish-led autonomous administration that runs swathes of northern Syria, told Reuters Syrian army troops would deploy along some border positions under the deal between the Kurds and the government. usa troops are not present in Afrin, but the United States is allied with both the YPG and Turkey, and has very much positioned itself against the Syrian government, demanding regime change.

In the speech to members of his ruling AK Party, Erdogan also promised that a siege of Afrin would begin soon.

Syrian state media reported earlier that pro-government forces would enter Afrin "within hours" to "bolster" local forces in confronting Turkey's "aggression" after reaching an agreement with the Kurdish militia.

"We will show those, who want to create a terrorist corridor on Turkey southern border, that it's not an easy task", Erdogan said at a meeting with lawmakers of the ruling Justice and Development Party.

The Observatory said Monday's shelling by Turkish troops killed three people, including a child, and that others were wounded.

There have so far been no reports of the Syrian government forces entering Afrin.

The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitor said at least 94 civilians have been killed during Turkey's offensive.

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"If the regime is entering to protect the YPG, then no one can stop us, stop Turkey or the Turkish soldiers", Mevlut Cavusoglu said.

Ankara strongly denies that there have been civilian casualties, saying its armed forces are showing utmost care not to harm civilians.

"Turkish forces will encircle Afrin's center in the upcoming days".

Speaking to reporters after a weekly Cabinet meeting Monday, Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag said Turkey was determined to continue its military offensive in the Afrin enclave and has no plans to withdraw.

"When it comes to the political and administrative matters in the region, it will be agreed upon with Damascus in the later stages through direct negotiations and discussions", he said.

The Turkish operation has strained already-difficult ties with Washington which has given weaponry to the YPG as part of its fight against ISIL jihadists in Syria. It also vowed to expand its operation to Manbij where US troops are deployed with YPG to fight the IS.

Further east, the YPG militia is a key component of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, which controls around 25 percent of Syrian territory after pushing back the "Islamic State" over the past two years.