Turkey “has completed preparations for Afrin operation”

Turkey is beseiging the majority-Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) controlled Syrian province of Afrin on four sides and has completed preparations for an operation to dislodge the YPG there, pro-government newspaper Habertürk reported.

The crucial date will be Jan. 17, the newspaper said, when Turkey’s National Security Council will make the decisions whether to enter Afrin and whether Turkey should expand its military deployments inside Syria.

The whole region is hotting up, it said, with more than 200,000 civilians fleeing towards the Turkish border as Syrian President Bashar Assad advances to the east of Idlib. Meanwhile, drone attacks on the Russian base at Khmeimim in Syria has put the Astana peace process in jeopardy.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan also received a recent call from Moscow to reassure him that Russia was still on-side after Ankara summoned the Russian ambassador to express its concerns about attacks on civilians by Russian-supported Syrian government forces, the newspaper said.