Red Cross chief urges access to Syria's Afrin

The Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) could do little when Syrian Arab fighters backed by Nato's second-largest army thrust into Afrin, almost two months into a massive assault on the region.

Turkey first launched military operations in Syria in 2016, and Erdogan has repeatedly said it will not allow a "terror corridor" along its border.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, buoyed by his army's capture of a Kurdish stronghold in northwest Syria, threatened to extend the offensive against separatist Kurdish militants to eastern Syria and northern Iraq.

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

A high-ranking Kurdish-Syrian official, Aldar Xelil, said that with the Turkish "occupation" in Afrin, "all of northern Syria is in danger".

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan appeared set on forcing Washington to reconsider its partnership with the Syrian Kurdish fighters, the main USA ally in the fight against the Islamic State group.

Afrin has been a major hideout for the YPG/PKK since July 2012, when the Assad regime in Syria left the city to the terror group without a fight.

He said since the start of Turkey's Operation Olive Branch, 3,622 Kurdish YPG and ISIS militants have been "neutralised" (killed, injured or captured).

"The terrorists fled", said Bekir Bozdag, deputy prime minister and government spokesman, adding that the terrorist group didn't leave Afrin to Turkey. "We are taking necessary measures to provide comfort in Afrin", Yıldırım stressed.


"We remain committed to our North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally Turkey, to include their legitimate security concerns".

"As you know, we have United States forces in Manbij".

"It appears the majority of the population of the city, which is predominantly Kurdish, evacuated under threat of attack from Turkish military forces and Turkish backed opposition forces".

He said the PYD/PKK terrorists had also carried out rockets attacks from "Euphrates Shield" operation areas on Kilis.

Nicholas Heras, a security fellow at the Center for a New American Security, said taking Afrin was a success for Erdogan, who shrugged off worldwide concern to press on with the operation.

Turkey's emergency aid agency AFAD sent a convoy into Afrin town centre on Monday and distributed Turkish Red Crescent materials including food, water and hygiene products.

Already, thousands of Kurdish fighters have been redeployed away from front lines with IS to take part in the Afrin battle, threatening to distract from the fight against the extremists.

This picture taken on March 19, 2018, shows a man looking at the damage in the Syrian city of Afrin a day after Turkish-led forces entered the city.


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