Jan 24 2018

Afrin day 5: One dead in Turkey by rockets from Syria: governor

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

23:00 Trump warns Erdoğan not to risk conflict with United States

The U.S. and Turkish governments have issued press releases after U.S. President Donald Trump spoke by telephone to his Turkish counterpart, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, about the Turkish operation in Afrin. Trump warned Turkey not to risk conflict with the United States, after Erdoğan's threatening comments around a Turkish operation against Manbij, a majority-Kurdish region in northern Syria where U.S. forces are stationed.

20:00 One dead in Turkey by rockets from Syria: governor

(AFP) - One person was killed and 13 others were wounded in the Turkish border province of Kilis on Wednesday in rockets launched from Syria, Governor Mehmet Tekinarslan said.

One of the two rockets hit a local mosque, witnesses said. The attack comes on the fifth day of Turkey's offensive in northern Syria against Kurdish militia viewed as "terrorists" by Ankara.

15:45 U.S. should reconsider Turkish alliance - analyst

“The U.S. needs to start imagining NATO without Turkey,” says Noah Feldman, a senior fellow at Harvard.

“U.S. interests appear nowhere in the equation. That’s a long-term strategic problem, which goes beyond the moral outrage every American should feel as our Kurdish allies are murdered from the air by F-16s we sold to Turkey.”

14.52 Thousands of volunteers sign up to fight with Turkey in Afrin

Thousands of Turkish citizens and Syrian refugees have applied to volunteer with the Turkish armed forces during their operation in Afrin.

One of the most striking examples was seen in the small city of Elazığ, where 300 public employees all signed up together.

14.09 “Now everywhere is the target” – an Afrin civilian’s view

A Kurdish woman living in a village near the Turkish border with Afrin has told how she and her neighbours felt as they were being shelled by the Turkish-Free Syrian Army (FSA) coalition.

“Now everywhere is the target, and the warplanes are always in the sky,” said the woman, who gave her name only as Rania.

13.59 Possibility of direct confrontation with US "small" - Turkish Deputy PM

The chances of a face-to-face conflict with the United States if Turkey expanded its Syrian campaign against Kurdish forces into the area around Manbij is "small", Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ said.

There are U.S. forces deployed in the Manbij area, which is controlled by the U.S.-backed majority-Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) in the northwest of Syria,

(Reuters)

12.54 Mardin bans anti-war protests

The governor of the majority-Kurdish province of Mardin has banned all anti-war demonstrations in the province, following the lead of the governors of Ankara and Kocaeli, which have issued bans on public demonstrations since the beginning of the Afrin operation.

In many other Kurdish-majority provinces, there are ongoing bans on all kinds of demonstrations, including in Van where the ban has been in place for over a year.

12:40 Stephen Kinzer says U.S. Syria policy a mistake 

U.S. President Donald Trump's determination to keep troops in Syria will only cause instability and keep Washington occupied in a region indefinitely when more important security challenges lie elsewhere, Kinzer writes for The Hill

11.56 Turkey denies it traded Syria’s Idlib with Russia for Afrin

Turkish presidential spokesman İbrahim Kalın has denied that Turkey made a deal with Russia to allow Syrian regime forces into the rebel-controlled province of Idlib in exchange for a free hand in the Kurdish-controlled province of Afrin.

“Take Afrin and give Idlib. I have heard this type of thing spoken about a lot. For one thing, this type of thing is out of the question,” Kalın said in a television interview.

11.30 Phone call on Afrin expected between Trump and Erdoğan later today

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu told reporters in France that Erdoğan and Trump had set a time for a phone call on Wednesday, which Turkish state news agency Anadolu reported was requested by Trump.

11.18 Turkey’s struggle in Syria’s Afrin could last “decades” - newspaper

Turkey could be dragged into Syria for the long term if things go badly, British liberal news website The Independent said.

“The Turkish foreign minister, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, tweeted in response to the news (of the second Turkish soldier killed in Afrin): ‘We will not leave the blood of our martyrs on the ground and will continue our struggle until we root out terror’,” it wrote. “If the recent history of Syria and Iraq is any guide, that ‘struggle’ will continue over many decades.”

09.56 Social media detentions in Turkey over Afrin hit 150

Some 150 people have been detained in Turkey so far for social media posts related to the Turkish military operation in northern Syria, pro-government Star newspaper said, and 11 of them have had their detention pending trial formally confirmed in court.

The main charge against the suspects, the newspaper said, was making propaganda for the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and its Syrian Kurdish sister-party the Democratic Union Party (PYD).

09.42 YPG foreign fighters say they are going to Afrin

A squad of foreign volunteer fighters in Syria is to travel to the besieged enclave of Afrin to fight Turkey and its Free Syrian Army allies.

“We are all ready to go and fight in Afrin,” the squad's spokesman said. “We have been training for a significant amount of time in tactics that work against any force. We are prepared and have been supplied by the YPG to fight against Turkish terrorists.”

00.31 High level discussions on Syria to include Trump, Erdoğan call

Officials from Turkey and the United States have been engaging in a flurry of diplomatic contacts over Turkey’s military operation in northwest Syria that will include a phone call on Wednesday between U.S. President Donald Trump and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Turkey began its incursion, “Operation Olive Branch”, into the northwestern Syrian region of Afrin on Saturday to strike armed Kurdish groups in the area, who are backed by the U.S. military.

 

(All times Turkish)

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