Turkey dismisses claims of chemical weapons use

Bekir Bozda

Bekir Bozda

The Turkish General Staff said in a statement on February 18 that a total of 1,614 militants have been "neutralized" since the start of "Operation Olive Branch" in the northwestern Syrian district of Afrin, Hurriyet Daily News reports.

A doctor at Afrin's main hospital tells The Associated Press that the facility was treating six people who had been poisoned who arrived Friday night from the village of Arandi after it was attacked by Turkish troops.

"Medical sources confirmed the use of gases during the shelling, but the Syrian Observatory was not able, until now, to know the type of the used gases", a statement by the group said. The Britain-based war monitoring group said medical sources in Afrin reported that six people in the attack suffered breathing difficulties and dilated pupils, indicating a suspected gas attack.

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The claims came after the Syrian regime's state-run news agency SANA and some other outlets quoted PYD/PKK terrorists on the ground in Afrin, Syria.

He said the parties who accuse Turkey should prove their claims.

"Generally speaking, if Turkey was not being utmost careful about not killing civilians in Afrin, and followed the methods [Syian President Bashar] al-Assad implemented on his own people, this operation would probably have been concluded by now", he said.

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However, Syria has previously threatened to respond to Turkey's aggression against the Kurds as Ankara's military incursion, dubbed "Operation Olive Branch", in the Kurdish-held Afrin region has been going on for a month. Turkish forces are fighting alongside Syrian Arab fighters opposed to Damascus.

The source added that the ongoing discussions involve allowing government forces to enter and protect the Kurdish enclave of Afrin in Syrian Kurdistan (Rojava).

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