Operation Olive Branch: Syrian Kurds respond by shelling Southern Turkey

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January 21, 2018 – FRN – 
Vesti – translated by Inessa Sinchougova 

Kurds from Afrin have shelled the city of Reyhanli in the south of Turkey. According to the newspaper Daily Sabah, three rockets were fired over the village, there are some wounded. 

The Turkish military has begun the ground-based phase of Operation Olive Branch in Syria. Ankara claims that the target of the action are the armed formations that support terrorists in Turkey and supply them with arms across the border. One of the supply channels for militants was destroyed today as a result of the air strike of the Turkish Air Force.

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The armed forces of Turkey have advanced 5 kilometers, the terrorists are fleeing. “Our Armed Forces will complete the operation in Afrin in the near future, and we will pursue the terrorists who are fleeing,” the Turkish leader said.

The main target of the Turkish military are Kurdish formations from the forces of the People’s Self-Defense Forces and the Democratic Union Party in the Syrian district of Afrin. In Ankara these groups are considered offshoots of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party of Turkey, banned in Turkey.

The Russian Defense Ministry immediately withdrew its military from Afrin, for the safety of the personnel. This seemed to indicate a certain green light on behalf of Russia – however the statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs claimed otherwise. The statement noted that Ankara was forced to act in this way due to Washington’s provocation.

“The extremely negative reaction of Ankara was caused by Washington’s statements about the creation of border forces in adjacent areas with Turkey. The Pentagon’s uncontrolled supply of modern weapons to pro-American forces in northern Syria  contributed to a rapid escalation of tensions in the region and led the Turkish troops to a special operation. These irresponsible actions of the American side in Syria lead to the disruption of the process of peaceful settlement and impede the Geneva format, legitimate participants of which are the Kurds,”- said the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation.

Damascus strongly condemns the actions of Turkey. Russia, in turn, is ready to act as an arbiter in this situation: the parties will be able to settle all issues at the congress of the national dialogue of Syria – it will be held in Sochi in late January. The main theme should be the draft of a new Syrian constitution – the Russian Foreign Ministry emphasizes that this is a necessary step for achieving peace in the region.

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