Feb 15 2018

Afrin Day 27: Syria calls on Kurds, Arabs to unite against 'Turkish assault'

All updates about the twenty-eighth day of Turkey’s military operation on Syria’s Afrin are here:


14.47 U.S. offered to use YPG to fight PKK – Turkish Defence Minister

Turkish Defence Minister Nurettin Canikli said his U.S. counterpart James Mattis had offered to have Syrian Kurdish forces help Turkey in its fight against Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militants waging a three-decade-old guerrilla campaign in southeast Turkey, the Turkish service of Russian news website Sputnik said.

Canikli said Mattis had offered to have the Syrian Kurdish force, the People’s Protection Units (YPG) fight the PKK in order to create a clear split between the two groups.


13.26 U.S. Syria options: withdraw or weaken alliance with Turkey - analyst

All the external actors in Syria are at a “strategic dead end”, Atlantic Council senior fellow Aaron Stein wrote, and the United States has no good options left.

“The first, of course, is status quo,” Stein said, referring to a maintenance of the U.S. commitment to the majority-Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) and continued attempts to manage its relationship with Turkey while Russia seeks to undermine it.


13.02 Syria calls on Kurds, Arabs to unite against Turkey – report

Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Fayssal Mikdad said the Kurds and Arabs should unite against Turkey’s military operation in the region of Afrin.

“Afrin is an integral party of the Syrian Arab Republic,” Deputy Minister Fayssal Mikdad said on Wednesday, the pro-Kurdish Rudaw news website reported, citing a statement from Syria’s state-run SANA news agency.


12.42 Syria becoming battleground for oil war – Turkish paper

Syria is becoming a battleground for nations and factions intent on exploiting the nation’s natural resources, including oil reserves in its eastern region, Turkey’s Yeni Şafak newspaper said in an editorial.

U.S. airstrikes on Feb. 8 against Iranian militia and forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the region of Deir Ezzor have highlighted the struggle for control of Syria’s oil, “revealing the true intentions behind the various interventions in Syria’s affairs, including the U.S., Iran, Russia and the PYD, which has only served to prolong the ongoing conflict,” the newspaper said.


12.29 U.S. should help Turkey resolve Kurdish problem – expert

The United States should develop a more holistic strategy toward Turkey and the broader region, helping Ankara resolve its Kurdish problem, which is hindering efforts to stabilize the area, said Amanda Sloat in Foreign Policy

U.S. officials – Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is in Turkey’s capital this week – should urge the Turkish government to resolve its Kurdish problem by resuming peace talk with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), said Sloat, a Robert Bosch senior fellow in the Center on the United States and Europe at the Brookings Institution. The fight with the PKK is destructive to Turkey’s domestic politics though helps Erdogan to exploit the conflict in the country’s pre-election environment, she said.


12.15 Turkey will fight U.S. if necessary – PM Yıldırım

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said Turkey would fight the United States if it fought Turkey alongside Kurdish forces in Syria, German state broadcaster Deutsche Welle said .

“We have a problem with the YPG. But if the United States begins warring against us by the side of the YPG, we will fight them as well,” Yıldırım said.


11.44 1,528 militants killed in Afrin - Turkish Armed Forces

Turkey's armed forces have announced that so far 1,528 Kurdish and Islamic State (ISIS) militants have been killed in the ongoing Afrin operation.


08.35 Turkish-led forces capture 37th village from Kurdish militants

The Turkish Armed Forces' capture of Kudah Kuwi village in Syria, due east of İskenderun on the southern Turkish coast, from majority-Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) militants marks the 37th village captured by Turkey's coalition with elements of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) during the 27-day campaign, pro-government newspaper Daily Sabah said.

"The Turkish army and FSA also found many anti-personnel landmines, which are banned by the Ottawa Treaty, in areas liberated from terrorists," the newspaper said.

08.28 Turkish planes bomb Bulbul mountains - witnesses

Witnesses told Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG)-owned news website Kurdistan24 that Turkey had begun bombing villages in the Bulbul mountains, citing local witnesses.

Additionally, "at a front in the Raju district, west of Afrin, there were heavy clashes between the YPG and the Turkish military where Kurdish forces said they seized large amounts of weapons left by the Turkish soldiers who allegedly withdrew from the area", the news website said.

08.04 Zones of control in the Syrian conflict and the main combat areas. - AFP

map of syrian conflict


0.01 U.S. has "secret embargo" on Turkey - Turkish PM

The United States has carried out a series of hostile actions against Turkey that includes a “secret embargo”, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım told BBC Turkish in an interview on Wednesday.

The interview comes day before U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s planned visit to Turkey during a period of high tensions over Turkey’s military incursion into Syria that has raised the possibility of a military confrontation between the two allies.


0.01 Turkish Minister threatens US with an Ottoman slap

Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu followed his president’s lead during a speech on Wednesday by threatening the United States with an “Ottoman slap” if they continue supporting Turkey’s enemies, the Turkish daily Birgün reported.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had warned the United States that it would receive the “Ottoman slap” if the two countries came to blows in Manbij, an area in northwest Syria which Turkey has threatened to invade to combat armed Kurdish groups that Turkey considers terrorists.


0.01 Erdoğan may capitalise on war with early elections – investors

Investors are nervous that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will take advantage of public enthusiasm for the ongoing Turkish offensive in northwest Syria by calling early elections, the business news firm Bloomberg reported on Wednesday.

The presidential elections will be the first time the country chooses its president under the new executive presidency system, which the country is set to adopt after a controversial referendum in April 2017.



(All times Turkish)

All updates about the twenty-sixth day of Turkey’s military operation on Syria’s Afrin are here: