Mar 15 2018

Afrin not to be returned to Assad – Turkish presidential spokesman

Turkish presidential spokesman İbrahim Kalın said Turkey had no plans to return the northwest Syrian district of Afrin to the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad after capturing the area from Kurdish fighters, pro-government newspaper Daily Sabah said.

Up to 70 percent of Syria’s Afrin region was now under Turkish control and Turkey expects the urban areas to be cleared of Kurdish fighters very soon, it quoted Kalın as saying.

The deal with the United States on taking over the area around the Syrian town of Manbij from the Kurdish-majority People’s Protection Units (YPG) was still binding and would go ahead despite the change in U.S. secretary of state, Kalın said.

More than 150,000 Syrians had returned to territory taken over by Turkey and its Free Syrian Army allies, while there had been no such moves to return to territory held by the YPG, he said.