Published: Sun, March 11, 2018
World News | By Laverne Osborne

Turkish troops can enter Syria's Afrin "at any moment": Erdogan

Turkish troops can enter Syria's Afrin

The talks between Turkish and American officials have begun in the US capital, Washington where they are expected to discuss a number of matters of bilateral interest, Syria and Turkey's ongoing Operation Olive Branch, in Afrin, among them.

This is while U.S. officials regard the YPG as the most effective fighting force against the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group in northern Syria, and have substantially increased their weaponry and technology support to the group.

The move came a day after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said his troops and the Syrian fighters they were backing could break into the Kurdish-controlled town "at any moment".

The operation is being carried out under the framework of Turkey's rights based on worldwide law, UN Security Council resolutions, its self-defence rights under the UN charter and respect for Syria's territorial integrity, it said.

The United States, which has infuriated Turkey with its support for the YPG-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), said Turkey's offensive on Afrin has diverted attention from the fight against Islamic State.

"To date 850 square kilometers have been taken under our control".

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As part of the operation, 3,213 PYD/YPG/PKK and Daesh terrorists were neutralized, 42 soldiers were martyred and 202 soldiers were wounded, the statement added.

Turkey says they have ties to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), active in Turkey.

On Saturday, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said the Turkish forces were now four kilometres (2.5 miles) from Afrin town.

Euphrates Shield began in August in 2016 and ended in March 2017, and cleared towns on Turkish border of ISIL militants.

Turkey launched the operation in northern Syria on January 20 against the US-backed YPG in its border stronghold of Afrin in northwestern Syria.

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