Jan 23 2018

Afrin day 4: Turkish military announces first casualties

16.37 U.S.-designated terrorist joins Turkish-led Afrin operation

A Chechen jihadist commander listed as a terrorist by both the United States and the UN Security Council has joined the Turkish-led Afrin operation in Syria together with his fighters.

Muslim al-Shishani, born Murad Margoshvili in the former Soviet republic of Georgia, made his name fighting Russian forces in Chechnya and Ingushetia before moving to Syria to create a new group and join the fight against President Bashar Assad’s government.

16.00 Turkish radio host calls for shooting of anti-war protestors

A Turkish radio host has called on police to shoot anti-war protestors.

“The police should come out and shoot them,” Ali Şentürk said on his programme in response to a call from the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) for people to take to the streets and protest Turkey’s military invasion of the Kurdish-held Syrian district of Afrin.

14.33 Second Turkish casualty in Afrin operation

Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu has announced the death of First Lieutenant Oğuz Kaan Usta in Turkey's ongoing operation in Afrin.

The news follows the death of father-of-one Staff Sergeant Musa Özalkan overnight.

13.31 16 Turkish civil society, business groups endorse Afrin operation

Seven trade unions and nine business associations have signed a joint declaration in support of Turkey’s military operation in the Kurdish-held Syrian district of Afrin.

“Operation Olive Branch has begun within the context of legitimate self defence in universal law, U.N. General Assembly decisions on the fight against terror and the U.N. charter,” the declaration read.

12.14 Protests banned in Turkish capital during Syria offensive

The governor of Ankara has banned all demonstrations of any kind in the Turkish capital for the duration of Turkey’s military operation in the Kurdish-controlled Syrian province of Afrin.

In a written statement, the governor’s office said various political parties and civil society groups had been planning to protest the military operation in the city of more than five million people.

11.26 Turkey strikes PKK militants in Iraq

Turkey launched air strikes in northern Iraq on Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) militants who were planning an attack, the army said on Tuesday, just days after Ankara began an offensive against a Kurdish militia in Syria.

The strikes took place on Monday in the Zap region of northern Iraq, not far from Turkey's southeastern border, the Turkish military said in a statement.

(AFP)

10.37 Tillerson should stop talking like the YPG - Turkish FM

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu has said that his American counterpart should not repeat the People’s Protection Units (YPG) narrative about a Turkish operation in the YPG-controlled Syrian province of Afrin.

“Check your sources,” Çavuşoğlu said. “Do not talk to us with their mouths.”

09.48 - Turkey's Afrin quagmire - Yavuz Baydar

A ground incursion in Afrin means not only facing an armed-to-the-teeth Kurdish militia but bold manoeuvring between the two major players in Syria: Washington and Moscow. So far, it has pro­duced only a backlash from all sides. The PYD declared that it would have to pull back its combat units from the areas where the Islamic State (ISIS) is being fought to Afrin “for defence.”

The United States made it clear that Turkish “violent acts,” as it ex­pressed it, were unacceptable. The Syrian government issued a blunt statement saying that its forces would shoot down Turkish fighter planes if they entered its air space. Ever-calculating Moscow has not given a green light for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s government to launch a military operation.

08:34 Over 40 social media detentions over Afrin

Police carried out a series of raids on Monday night that brought the number of people detained in Turkey for offences allegedly committed on social media to over 40 since the start of Turkey's military operation in the Kurdish-controlled northern Syrian province of Afrin.

The detainees, mostly journalists and Kurdish politicians, face a range of charges including "attempting to overthrow the constitutional order", "terrorist propaganda" and "hate speech".

08.25 Turkish military announces death of first soldier 

The Turkish military announced the death of its first soldier since the launch of operation "Olive Branch" on Saturday, its second major intervention in Syria's devastating seven-year civil war.

"We are determined. Afrin will be sorted out. We will take no step back," Erdogan said in a televised speech in Ankara.

(AFP)

 

(All times Turkish)

All updates about the third day of Turkey’s military operation on Syria’s Afrin are here.