AFRIN, Syria – Mourners gathered in the Syrian city of Afrin on Monday, where they held a mass funeral to bury the bodies of 20 new victims of Turkey’s ongoing ‘Olive Branch’ offensive.
Hundreds of mourners approached a line of caskets to pay their respects, before the procession carried the victims to their final resting place.
Meanwhile, smoke billowed on the horizon as Turkish shelling of the enclave continued.
On March 8, Turkish forces and their Free Syrian Army (FSA) proxies took over the town of Jinderes in the region.
This spurred on Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to state that troops could enter Afrin city “in a matter of moments,” during a speech in Ankara.
Turkey now controls five of the seven settlements in the north-west Afrin region.
The Turkish military launched the Olive Branch Operation on January 20 to expel the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) from the Afrin region that lays in northwest Syria on the Turkish border.
The YPG are the Syrian branch of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) that not only Ankara, but also Washington considers as a terrorist organization. Despite recognizing the PKK as a terrorist organization, the US are still the main backers and supporters of the YPG, causing much hostility between Washington-Ankara relations.
Elsewhere related to Syria, US Permanent Representative to the UN Nikki Haley stated that the “United States remains prepared to act” in Syria if the Security Council will not, during a United Nations Security Council meeting in New York City on Monday. Further details of this can be read here.