Afrin day 7: Germany calls for NATO meeting over Turkish incursion into Syria

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

15.28 Turkish Medical Association are “terrorist-lovers” - Erdoğan

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan called the country’s largest association of medical professionals “terrorist-lovers” after it had called for peace.

The professional association had never spoken out against terrorists killing innocent Turkish citizens, Erdoğan said.

15:17 Erdogan adviser: U.S. position in Syria too weak, time to go home

The United States should work behind the scenes with Turkey until the operation in Afrin is complete, when the Turkish military will turn its attention to Manbij and even east of the River Euphrates, Ilnur Çevik says.

The U.S. position in Syria is too tenous as its only allies are Kurds focused on expanding their territory, rather than fighting ISIS, he says.

15:12 Turkey was right: SDF is slick rebranding of PKK – academic

By partnering with the SDF, the United States has emboldened a terrorist organization, writes Bessma Momani in the Globe and Mail.

But Turkey faces a quagmire in Afrin, where the local population is predominantly Kurdish and likely to put up fierce resistance, the academic said

14.03 Missile fired into Turkey hits home of Syrian refugee

A missile fired into the Turkish border province of Kilis hit the roof of a family who had been forced to flee Syria due to the civil war, but they are adamant that they will not leave their home a second time, Turkish state news agency Anadolu reported.

“I have never left Kilis since we came from Syria, and I will never leave it; Kilis is my homeland,” Neda Ahmar told Anadolu.

12.11 Beyond rhetoric, U.S. and Turkey want same thing for Syria – analysts

Turkey and the United States have the same broad policy for the end of the Syria crisis, former U.S. ambassador to Turkey James Jeffrey and Washington Institute for Near East Policy fellow David Pollock said.

However, these diverging interests have not led to a harmonious bilateral relationship, due to the two countries’ differing perspectives on the majority-Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its U.S.-supported military affiliate the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which control a large portion of territory on the Turkish-Syrian border, the analysts said.

11.59 U.S. tells Kurds it will not fight Turkey for them - NYT

With the fight against the Islamic State (ISIS) almost complete, the U. S. need for Kurdish forces in Syria has lessened, and U.S. officials have told Kurdish militias that U.S. troops will not battle Turkey should it invade to try to wipe out the Kurdish forces, the New York Times said.

“American officials have told the Kurds that the United States will not fight Turkey for them,” the newspaper said.

11.07 Turkey-led forces have lost 14 men in Afrin - health minister

Turkish Health Minister Ahmet Demircan has announced that Turkey has so far lost three men in Afrin, while the country's Free Syrian Army allies have lost 11.

130 men had been wounded so far, but 82 of them had been discharged from hospital, Demircan added.

08.29 What if a Turkish attack on Manbij produces U.S. casualties?

Turkey vowed emphatically that, after Afrin, its operation would expand to Manbij and to the east of the River Euphrates. It announced this at the outset, probably in order to force the United States to make a choice between a NATO ally and a non-state actor.

Even a few casualties from either side may leave indelible scars on bilateral relations, with negative consequences for future relations between these two NATO allies.  Avoiding confrontation is a duty for both.

00.00 No change in U.S. posture in Manbij, despite Turkey’s confrontation warning – Pentagon

The Pentagon said there would be no changes in the location of U.S. troops, despite Turkey’s threats to expand military operations in the Syrian Kurdish enclave of Afrin to Manbij, where U.S. troops are present.

McKenzie downplayed the chances of U.S. troops being threatened, but still noted that they will defend themselves if necessary.

00.00 Germany calls for NATO meeting over Afrin

German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel has asked for NATO to discuss the issue of Turkish intervention in Afrin.

Gabriel asked for a negotiated solution between the Turkish government and majority-Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), who he said had both made important contributions in the fight against the Islamic State (ISIS).


(All times Turkish)

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