Monday, 15 October, 2018

Protests in Lebanon against Turkish Military Operation in Syria

Commandos raise Turkish flag on liberated Mount Darmiq Protests in Lebanon against Turkish Military Operation in Syria
Glenn Montgomery | 06 February, 2018, 15:30

Turkey's president said on Tuesday that the current Turkish-led operation in northern Syria will continue from the region of Afrin to Idlib, which Turkey will hand back to its rightful owners.

Five Turkish soldiers were killed when a tank was destroyed by a missile in Sheikh Haruz, northeast of Afrin, Turkish state media reported.

Ankara launched the military campaign in response to the announcement of the United States that Washington would train a 30,000-strong border security force on the territory within Syria controlled by the Syrian Democratic Forces, an alliance dominated by the YPG allegedly associated with the PKK, banned in Turkey.

The Turkish Interior Ministry now says 449 people have been detained for criticizing the war on social media, and 124 more detained for taking part in actual protests.

French President Emmanuel Macron has said France would have a "real problem" if the situation in Afrin turned out to be an "invasion operation".

A total of 134 FSA and Turkish fighters have been reportedly killed while 106 YPG fighters have been killed, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR).

Meanwhile, the SDF pledged to retake the areas captured by the Turkish army and its allies of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and al-Qaida-linked groups on the outskirts of Afrin.

He flagged USA support to YPG Syrian Kurdish separatists having links with PKK Turkish separatist Kurds and adhering to Turkish request to expel Fethullah Gulen, responsible for the 2016 coup d'état against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Erdogan's spokesman, Ibrahim Kalin, told reporters that Turkish soldiers were there to protect these people and that Ankara has had an "open-door policy" since the start of Syria's civil war in 2011.

There have been numerous reports suggesting US Special Forces (SOF) teams use the insignia of Kurdish paramilitary groups.

Turkey's high-stakes incursion in Afrin risks inflaming tensions even further with its North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally, the U.S., which is funding the very group Turkey is trying to defeat, the Kurdish YPG, in the fight against ISIS.

Until now, the Turkish military has announced it has lost 9 soldiers, but the Kurdish side claims the actual number to be much higher.

Local reports of Turkish-trained proxy forces engaging in brief skirmishes with SDF troops and their USA advisers near Manbij have already begun to surface, Ms. Cafarella said Monday. They said they will not stay in Manbij. "I am sure that they do not want to face Turkey and Turkish armed forces", Bozdag stated.

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