Damascus says Washington had orchestrated the Ankara’s move
The fragile Middle East situation is getting worse with more complex developments. The Turkish move of starting air campaign against Kurds in north-western Syrian town Afrin has added the pain.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has condemned Turkish military operation stating that the offensive is part of Ankara’s support for Takfiri terrorist groups, a term generally used for Daesh (IS) and other Saudi influenced terrorists in the region.
On Saturday, Turkish army had launched strikes against the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) militia in north-western Syrian territory in “legitimate self-defense” camps and refuges used by the terror group.
Syria’s official news agency SANA quoted statement saying, “The brutal Turkish aggression on the Syrian town of Afrin cannot be separated from the Turkish regime’s policy from the first day of Syria’s crisis, which was essentially built on supporting terrorism and terrorist organizations, whatever their names.”
Earlier on Sunday, Turkish ground forces, backed by armoured vehicles advanced 5 kms inside Afrin along with Free Syrian Army militants. No major clashes were reported during the movement.
President Erdogan on Sunday afternoon said the Operation Olive Branch in Syria’s Afrin would be completed “in very short time.
The Turkish General Staff said in a statement that their warplanes and artillery units had hit 153 positions of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) militants so far. “Operation Olive Branch continues as planned and the ground offensive has begun,” the military stated on Sunday.
The Turkish military has also claimed that only terrorists and their positions were being destroyed, and “careful attention” was being paid not to harm any civilian target.
On Saturday, SAANA citing foreign ministry sources in Damascus said that Syria “strongly condemns the brutal Turkish aggression on Afrin, which is an inseparable part of Syrian territory.”
“Syria completely denies claims by the Turkish regime that it was informed of this military operation,” the source added.
On Saturday, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told Turkish-language Kanal 24 news broadcaster that Ankara was informing the Syrian government “in writing” on the Afrin assault.
Furthermore, Russia has voiced concern about a Turkish military operation in Afrin region, calling on the sides to exercise restraint.
Turkey views YPG as Syrian branch of the militant Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) fighting for an autonomous Kurdistan inside Turkey since 1984.
Recently, Russia, Turkey and Syria had opposed US plan for raising 30,000-strong Kurdish army in the north-eastern Syrian region. Turkey’s military move in the area indicates some coordination between Washington and Ankara.
Tehran based Pars Today has reported that Buthaina Shaban, advisor to President Bashar al-Assad, while meeting with a Chinese delegation, on Sunday, alleged that Turkish military move was approved by Washington.