More than 2600 YPG militants 'neutralized' in Afrin op in Syria's north

05 March 2018, 12:48 | Isaac Mcdaniel

41 Turkish soldiers killed during Afrin operation

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It did not specify a location and did not give a death toll.

Footage posted online by RT's Ruptly agency showed the demonstrators waving Kurdish flags and Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) flags, with others holding colored smoke grenades.

On January 20, Ankara launched operation Olive Branch in Afrin against Kurdish militia in order to "clear" Turkey's Syrian border of the terrorist threat.

UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that Turkish warplanes struck the pro-government "popular" forces at a camp in Kafr Jina.

This is the first time that Syrian government forces are deployed in the region since 2012 when the YPG held the area under its control.

It estimates more than 300 fighters on all sides of the conflict have been killed since the Turkish operation launched in Afrin at the beginning of the year.

They also seized a strategic mountain in the northeast of the enclave, a military official from the Turkish-led operation said.

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The offensive has heightened tensions between Turkey and its North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally, the USA, which backs the YPG fighting against Islamic State militants in eastern Syria.

Ankara views the YPG as a terror organization and the Syrian branch of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

The Observatory says more than 140 civilians have been killed in Turkish bombardment since the start of the assault, but Turkey denies the claim and says it takes the "utmost care" to avoid civilian casualties.

Thousands of civilians in Afrin have fled their homes since Turkey's offensive began.

Two members of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) were also killed and some are wounded, while anti-aircraft weapons and the YPG personnel using them were neutralized as a result of heavy strikes, he added.

Since February 26, areas controlled by the Free Syrian Army (FSA) forces in northern Syria have been reconnected in a crescent-shaped corridor from the northwestern Idlib province and Azaz eastward, Andalou's state-run news agency reported. Ankara says the operation is aimed at battling terrorists in the region, including the YPG.



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