Turkish Troops Enter Kurdish Enclave in Northern Syria

Turkish Troops Enter Kurdish Enclave in Northern Syria

As diplomatic channels have had a full plate following the announcement of the military operation deemed "Olive Branch" by the Turksh army, a Turkish foreign ministry official on January 20 said Çavuşoğlu held talks with US counterpart Rex Tillerson in the wake of the announcement of the air strikes at Washington's request, Agence France-Presse reported.

The Russian Defense Ministry said the United States contributed to the crisis in northern Syrian because it took steps "to isolate areas with predominantly Kurdish populations" and create border forces near Turkey.

AFP correspondents in the area around the Turkish border town of Reyhanli in Hatay province saw several more Turkish military vehicles heading south to the border.

'A full Turkish air and ground offensive will not take place without Moscow's blessing, ' said Anthony Skinner, Director MENA at global risk consultancy Verisk Maplecroft. In turn, the Turkish National Security Council pointed out that the operation was successful in terms of ensuring national security, including preventing the threat from Daesh.

Birusk Hasaka, the YPG spokesman in Afrin, said the Turkish forces were repulsed following fierce clashes. The Observatory said airstrikes killed eight in Afrin's southeast, bringing the total of civilians killed since the attack began to 18.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in an interview with Kommersant newspaper that Turkey had been infuriated by "unilateral" USA actions in Syria.

The operation is Turkey's second major incursion into Syria during the seven-year civil war after the August 2016-March 2017 Euphrates Shield campaign in an area to the east of Afrin against both the YPG and IS.

Le Drian also said that France condemned indiscriminate bombing by the Syrian regime in Idlib province and asked for the immediate access of humanitarian aid to eastern Ghouta, where 400,000 citizens are in a critical situation.

Turkish police used pepper gas to disperse pro-Kurdish protesters in Ankara and Istanbul on Sunday, detaining at least 12 people in Istanbul, Reuters witnesses said.

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Turkish forces and their Syrian allies on Sunday pressed a cross-border offensive against a Kurdish militia for a second day, as rocket fire hit a border town in apparent retaliation.

In a sign of the risks to Turkey, four rockets fired by the YPG hit a town in southern Turkey on the Syrian border early Sunday without causing loss of life, local officials said.

"They (the Kurdish and other US -backed fighters) have proven their effectiveness", Mattis said.

A Turkish dvance on Manbij would further strains relations with Washington, which has troops operating in the Manbij area.

Syria's government had vowed to shoot down any Turkish fighter jets over Afrin, calling it an "aggressive act".

"Turkey expects its allies to support its fight against terrorism in all of its forms", he added, in comments that appeared aimed at Washington.

Iran, a close ally of Assad, also condemned the Turkish assault and called on Turkey to end it.

Turkey has strongly opposed the idea of a Syrian Kurdistan.

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