Turkey Vows To Press On With Syria Offensive

Turkey provides health screening to Syrian civilians

Turkey provides health screening to Syrian civilians

Amid a complicated military situation in northern Syrian areas, where Turkish and United States forces are present, Ankara stated forward that its army fights against the Kurdish militias Popular Protection Units (YPG) to secure its borders with Syria.

Vehicles evacuating following Turkish artillery bombardment near the Afrin crossing in the northern Syrian region, after Syrian pro-government forces entered the region.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu earlier said Ankara was not against deploying the Syrian government forces to Afrin if they fight against terrorism there.

Turkey has called for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's ouster and supported opposition fighters throughout the seven-year conflict. Currently, the PKK advocates for democratic confederalism within Turkey.

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However, Abu Amer ruled out that Israel would take the initiative at this stage to launch a large-scale military offensive on the Gaza Strip.

Kalin also denied that pro-Damascus forces crossed into the Afrin region.

He added that the militias were forced to go back after artillery shooting. The Turkish forces are involved in anti-PKK raids across the country.

Ankara aims to drive the Kurdish YPG militia from Afrin, seeing it as linked to an insurgency inside Turkey and as a threat to its border.

The new phase of confrontation, pitting the Turkish army and its allies directly against pro-Assad forces, further scrambles the complex web of alliances and rivalries already at play in northern Syria.

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Speaking at a joint news conference alongside his Macedonian counterpart Gjorge Ivanov in Ankara, Erdogan said there was a movement towards Afrin by Shia militias which were interrupted after they were shelled.

Pro-Syrian government forces wave Syrian national flags as they ride on pickup trucks upon arriving in Syria's northern region of Afrin on February 20, 2018, with the Syrian Asayish (Kurdish) security forces' flag seen flying in the background.

But on Tuesday state media reported that members of the "Popular Forces" had arrived in Afrin to "support the locals against the aggression waged by the Turkish regime" and to confront IS, which has no known presence in the area.

Reuters reports Turkish forces have reached several kilometers into Syria, but the YPG still holds most of Afrin including its central town.

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