Turkey informs UK, France, China on Afrin operation

Syrian-Kurds carry portraits depicting jailed founding member and leader of the Kurdistan Worker's Party Abdullah Ocalan

Syrian-Kurds carry portraits depicting jailed founding member and leader of the Kurdistan Worker's Party Abdullah Ocalan

The Syrian government and some Kurdish militias were negotiating to raise Syrian government flags over public buildings in Afrin to try to avert the Turkish bombing, the lawmaker said.

It is too early to refer to it as invasion, as the Turkish armed forces have, so far, used artillery fire, while 8 warplanes pounded targets against Kurdish positions.

The shelling took place amid reports Russian military observers were withdrawing from the Syrian-Kurd canton, in a move that would allow Turkish forces to launch a ground assault on Kurdish militants.

Turkey considers the YPG and its all-female units, the YPJ, terrorist elements allied with the Marxist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

The Russian Foreign Ministry stated on Saturday that Moscow was closely following the situation in Syria's Afrin and was concerned by the news about the Turkish military engagement in the city.

According to estimates, there are between 8,000 to 10,000 Kurdish fighters in the Afrin area of Syria.

The operation on Syrian land "already started de facto", Canikli admitted. The militias had said any attack would be "sudden and unjustified" and "breathe new life" into Islamic State.

On Saturday, Turkey's General Staff declared the beginning of Operation Olive Branch against Kurdish units from Self-Defense Forces and Democratic Union Party in Afrin, home to 1.5 million Syrian Kurds.

Erdogan said the statements from Washington were contradictory.

In a statement, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the Kurdish rebel groups "were all the same" and accused them of being terrorist organizations.

This week, Erdoğan told reporters that Syrian rebels would be involved with the Turkish military's battle to take the Afrin region. Turkish President Erdogan had been warning for weeks that he would destroy the force, calling them "terrorists". But Turkey, which not only fears the Kurdish "terrorists" but also the establishment of an independent Kurdish state, and can not abide what they see as a threat on their border.

A 30,000-member US -trained border force from the Syrian Democratic Forces, dominated by YPG fighters, is training there.

"Let us be clear, the United States will maintain a military presence in Syria focused on ensuring [the Islamic State] can not re-emerge", Tillerson said.

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