Civilians Injured in Turkish Airstrikes on Afrin, Kurdish Reports Say

PKK  PYD attack on mental hospital leaves 12 injured in Syria

Turkey launched a massive air and ground campaign against US-backed Kurds in Syria's Afrin province on Saturday, which its military has code-named operation "Olive Branch", according to state-run Anadolu Agency.

The YPG has been a key part of the battle against Islamic State in Syria, and has been supported by the US.

Turkish troops were advancing alongside forces from the Ankara-backed rebel Free Syrian Army (FSA) and were already five kilometres (three miles) inside Syria, state media said.

But the Kurdish YPG militia says it has repelled Turkish troops in Afrin.

Afrin is an enclave of YPG control, cut off from the longer strip of northern Syria that the group controls to the east extending to the Iraqi border.

Speaking to a congress of his ruling AK Party in the northwestern city of Bursa, Erdogan also accused some of Turkey's allies of providing 2,000 plane shipments and 5,000 truckloads of weapons to the YPG, a comment that appeared aimed at the United States.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has repeatedly threatened over the last days to launch a ground operation, also including pro-Ankara Syrian rebels, to oust the YPG from Afrin and the area.

The operation, for which Turkey has also rallied almost 10,000 Syrian opposition fighters, could spill into a wider Turkish-Kurdish confrontation inside Turkey.

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. "Targets that were used as shelters, caches and ammunition deposits by terrorist organizations", said command of armed forces in a statement.

United States military training in Pakistan to continue
She said that they did not believe in the policy of good terrorists and bad terrorists. So yes, we think peace is very important.

Akar also urged precautions be taken to prevent civilian casualties in the operation.

Academics and worldwide human rights activists launched a petition calling upon world powers to act against Turkish aggression against Afrin, ANF News reported. The SDF has said it will have no choice but to defend itself if attacked. "We call upon all of our young people to meet in the ranks of resistance, taking the resistance spirit of our sacrificial martyrs as an example".

Le Drian, called for ceasefires "everywhere" and unconditional humanitarian access.

"Turkey has been unable to achieve all of its goals as part of Operation Euphrates Shield since the PKK and the YPG received support in the region", Turkish security and anti-terrorism expert Abdullah Agar said in an interview with Sputnik in March 2017. "Everyone's efforts need to aim at making progress in the political process", he said.

The fighting marks the second day of Turkey's new front in the almost seven-year-old Syrian civil war.

Washington had previously called on Ankara to refrain from launching a military incursion in Syria. "The focus needs to be on ISIS", State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said this week.

"Eight civilians were killed in missile strikes on a chicken farm where they were living", said Birusk Hasakeh, a spokesman for the YPG in Afrin, blaming Turkish warplanes.

Sporadic cross-border artillery exchanges between the two sides have been ongoing at least since August, but increased on Thursday after the USA announced it would maintain and train a 30,000-strong Kurdish force in northern and eastern Syria to stabilize the regions against ISIS. A 30,000-strong, US-trained border force from the Syrian Democratic Forces, dominated by YPG fighters, is to be trained in Manbij.

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