March 18, 2018

United States attack on Syria to result in serious consequences

14 March 2018, 10:38 | Opal Carroll

Turkey besieges Afrin, ready to enter the Syrian city 'at any moment'

Turkish troops and allied Syrian opposition fighters have begun a siege of the Syrian Kurdish-held town of Afrin the

The Turkish army and its Syrian allies, who had been looking to complete the encirclement in a two-pronged movement from the east and the west, had Afrin city surrounded on Monday, the army said on Tuesday.

Afrin city - the main urban centre in the YPG-controlled enclave on the Turkish border - is home to around 350,000 people, the Observatory said.

Erdogan also said that the terrorists lack the ability to construct the tunnels in the mountains that they use. Various forms of forcible transfer of populations, especially of ethnic or religious groups, are considered war crimes by the International Criminal Court.

Ankara launched an offensive almost two months ago against the town, to drive out Syrian Kurdish forces that control the northern region near Turkey's border.

But the YPG has been a key ally of the United States in the fight against jihadists in Syria and Turkey's operation against it has raised tensions with Ankara's North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies in Washington and Europe.

"We have got a little bit closer to Afrin".

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Turkey had warned the Syrian government against coming to the aid of the Kurdish militia which Ankara considers "terrorists" and aligned with Kurdish insurgents inside Turkey. But residents say they have come under fire.

Turkish bombing raids killed 10 fighters loyal to the Syrian government on Wednesday (March 12) at a checkpoint they were manning near the Kurdish enclave of Afrin, a monitor said.

Russian Federation backs Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in that country's civil war, while the United States has backed rebel groups opposed to him.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov Wednesday claimed that Syrian rebels were planning to stage a chemical attack to give the US -led coalition a pretext to strike Damascus. Russian Federation and Iran have been strong backers of Assad, helping him in his bid to regain control of territories. The TV showed several women carrying babies and welcoming the Syrian army, claiming the rebels were preventing civilians from leaving Eastern Ghouta.

Eastern Ghouta is larger and more populated, with some 400,000 people believed to be living there, trapped under a relentless air and ground bombardment and a crippling years-long siege.

The largest rebel group in eastern Ghouta, the Army of Islam, said it had reached an agreement with government-allied Russian forces to evacuate the wounded from the enclave.

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