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Syria: Turkish Troops Enter Afrin after Days of Airstrikes

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Local Editor

Turkish ground troops stormed Syrian territories on Sunday under the pretext of pushing an offensive against Kurdish militants there.

Turkish Troops

In this respect, France warned the operation risked harming the international fight against terrorists in the region.

In further details, Turkey on Saturday launched an operation dubbed the "Olive Branch" seeking to oust from the Afrin region of northern Syria the Peoples' Protection Units [YPG] militants referred to by Ankara as a terror group.

Meanwhile, the campaign risks further increasing tensions with Turkey's NATO ally the United States -- which has supported the YPG in the fight against Daesh [the Arabic acronym for terrorist ‘ISIS/ISIL' group] -- and also needs at least the tacit support of Russia to succeed.

France's defense minister sounded the sternest Western warning to Turkey since the start of the offensive, saying it risked harming the campaign to crush Daesh terrorists.

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said troops crossed into the YPG-controlled region in Syria at 0805 GMT, the Dogan news agency reported.

Turkish artillery and war planes pounded YPG sites around Afrin and total of 153 targets, including YPG refuges and weapons stores have now been hit, according to the army.

Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency said the Turkish troops, whose number was not specified, were advancing alongside forces from the pro-Ankara so-called Free Syrian Army [FSA] and were already five kilometers inside Syria.

In his first comments on the offensive since it began, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan expressed hope the "operation will be finished in a very short time" and vowed "we will not take a step back."

Following calls from some Turkish pro-Kurdish politicians for people to take to the streets, Erdogan warned that anyone protesting in Turkey against the operation would pay "a heavy price."

Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team