Turkish forces mobilise outside Afrin
The Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) are mobilising troops and armour towards Syria, after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Monday that a Turkish invasion of the Syrian region of Afrin was imminent.
Turkish forces took positions around Afrin during the Euphrates Shield operation, which ended in March 2017. The forces have remained in these positions overlooking the region, which is controlled by the majority-Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), a group that Turkey considers terrorists.
Reports of movements by the TSK towards the Syrian border poured in on Turkish news channels and social media throughout the day on Monday.
A steady flow of troops has been arriving at Turkish bases in Kırıkhan and Reyhanlı, close to Afrin, the Yeni Şafak newspaper reported on Monday. The paper also published pictures of missiles at a Turkish base, saying that these are Hawk missiles which have been pointed towards Afrin.
A convoy of 20 military vehicles made its way from the Iraqi border to the city of Şanlıurfa, 50 kilometres north of the Syrian border crossing at Akçakale. The convoy, consisting of tanks and howitzers, was sent to reinforce Turkish forces on the Syrian border, Sözcü reports.
Another convoy of seven tanks has been deployed from the eastern provinces to Hatay, a Turkish province close to Afrin and Aleppo, according to Aydınlık Newspaper.