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Turkey Begins Aerial Bombardment of Syria’s Afrin

Turkey Begins Aerial Bombardment of Syria’s Afrin

Saturday, 20 January, 2018 - 19:45
Turkey began an aerial bombardment of Syria's Afrin against YPG forces. (AFP)

Turkish fighter jets bombarded on Saturday the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) in the Afrin region in northern Syria, announced Prime Minister Binali Yildirim.

The air strikes are part of a military operation launched by Ankara against the Kurdish factions near Turkey’s borders.

Yildirim confirmed the bombardment, saying that “our forces started an aerial campaign to eliminate” YPG forces.

Dubbing the new campaign operation "Olive Branch", the Turkish army said it had begun at 1400 GMT and was aimed against the YPG and also ISIS.

A senior Turkish official told Reuters that the Free Syrian Army also joined the operation to support the Turkish forces.

The Turkish army has over the last two days shelled camps and refuges used by the YPG and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said earlier Saturday that Turkey had "de-facto" launched the operation.

Erdogan said that after Afrin, the forces would also seek to oust the YPG from Manbij, a town to the east that the Kurdish militia also holds.

Turkey accuses the YPG of being the Syrian offshoot of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) which has waged a rebellion in the Turkish southeast for more than three decades and is regarded as a terror group by Ankara and its Western allies.

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