Battle plans for Afrin revealed - Sabah

Following signals from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan that an operation in the Kurdish-controlled controlled northwestern Syrian enclave of Afrin is imminent, pro-government newspaper Sabah said Turkish forces and their allies would attack from the south and east while increased patrols on the Turkish border would stop fighters fleeing north.

“Preparations for operations have been completed at Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) bases and TSK-supported opposition groups in the Euphrates Shield region,” Sabah said. “The terrorists are surrounded from the east (where) the guns of Turkish tanks are pointed towards Azaz, Mare and al-Bab.”

The four Turkish security and observation teams sited in Idlib will cut off Afrin from the south, Sabah said, while the Turkish borders to the north and west will be vigilantly patrolled for fleeing fighters.

“The land operation will begin when Special Forces teams arrive,” the newspaper said. “The armoured units placed on four strategic points on the Idlib-Afrin border and in the Euphrates Shield region will strike at the same time.”

Turkey regards the U.S.-backed People’s Protection Units (YPG) as terrorists and any attempt to set up Kurdish-run zones in northern Syria likely to encourage separatism among its own large Kurdish population.

Clashes between the YPG and Turkish troops near the Turkish border began early Monday morning, killing one YPG fighter and injuring several civilians, the Associated Press quoted a YPG spokesman as saying.