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Jan 20 2019

Bomb blast in Syria's Afrin on anniversary of Turkey's offensive

A bomb blast in the city in northern Syria's Afrin killed three civilians and injured nine on a public bus, Reuters reported on Sunday.

"The blast came on the anniversary of Operation Olive Branch, an air and ground assault launched by Turkey in 2018 on the mainly-Kurdish Afrin to drive out the Syrian Kurdish YPG," Reuters said.

Turkey sees People's Protection Units (YPG) as an extension of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) that has waged an insurgency on Turkish soil since 1984.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, according to Reuters. However, Turkey's state-run Anadolu Agency declared that "YPG/PKK is responsible" for the attack. "Two bombs hit Afrin’s city centre, one exploding on a bus and the second in a garbage container," it added.

Operation Olive Branch is the cross-border operation started on Jan. 20, 2018, by the Turkish Armed Forces and allied Syrian Arab and Turkmen militias on the YPG-controlled Afrin district of northwest Syria. 

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has stated that the operation in Afrin would be followed by a push to the town of Manbij, which the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) captured from the Islamic State (ISIS) in 2016, and further east of Euphrates river.