Feb 19 2018

Afrin Day 32: Syrian regime fighters reach Afrin

21:22 Syrian regime fighters deployed in Afrin, locals say

Syrian regime troops have successfully entered the embattled region of Afrin in northwestern Syria, Kurdish military officials said.

The arrival of the soldiers came after days of conflicting reports about an agreement between the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) and the Syrian government to help secure the region against a Turkish offensive.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said earlier on Tuesday that an attempt by "terrorists" to enter Afrin had failed after Turkey repelled the attempt with artillery fire. Militants will pay a heavy price if they attempt to do so again, he added.


20:55 Turkey sends special ops forces to join Afrin incursion - report

Turkey is preparing to deploy to Syria special operations teams from the police and gendarmerie to take part in “residential district” operations as a part of Turkey’s battle with Kurdish militants in the Syrian canton of Afrin, Cumhuriyet newspaper reports.

Quoting military sources, Cumhuriyet said the security forces attached to the Interior Ministry have been sent to the border and will be posted to the Syrian towns of Cinderes and Rajo.


20:21 Erdoğan says Turkey forced militants to retreat

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said a group of fighters were forced to retreat from the border with Afrin in Syria after Turkey bombarded them with artillery fire.

"We will not allow this," Erdogan said at a press conference in Ankara, according to NTV television. "They will pay a very heavy price."

A group of about 10 trucks attempted to enter the enclave, Erdogan said, adding that sometimes "terrorists make their own decisions and they are wrong ones".


19:55 Syrian forces enter Afrin to confront Turkey, ISIS

Syria says Turkish artillery bombed a convoy of pro-regime forces as they entered the mainly Kurdish enclave of Afrin on Tuesday.

The fighters have arrived to support locals against Turkish aggression and to confront islamic State (ISIS) militants, the state-run Syrian Arab News Agency reported .


18:28 Turkey bombing pro-Assad forces - report

Turkey is bombarding forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad after they entered the enclave of Afrin on Tuesday, CNN Turk television reported citing Syrian state media.


17:52 Pro-Assad fighters enter Afrin - reports

Fighters supporting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad have begun entering the enclave of Afrin, where Turkey’s army is battling Kurdish militants, Reuters reported citing Hezbollah sources.

The militia are entering the area from Aleppo vis the al-Ziyara crossing point north of Nebul, said the media unit of Hezbollah, a Syrian government ally.

Iranian-backed militia with heavy weapons and jeeps have entered the area, according to a separate report by journalist Samet Doğan on Twitter. The soldiers were shouting anti-Erdoğan slogans, he said.


17.25 video allegedly showing pro-Assad forces moving to Afrin with heavy weapons published by a Turkish journalist. According to the video, Militias with heavy weapons "formed a convoy to fight against Turkish Armed Forces. One of militias on a truck yells to a camera "we are coming Erdogan" as a slogan." 

12:25 Afrin to be cleared regardless of consequences - Bahceli

Devlet Bahceli, leader of Turkey’s far-right MHP, said Turkey will continue its Afrin offensive regardless of U.S. “tricks”.

He also warned Syrian President Bashar al-Assad that he would “suffer the consequences” if his troops entered Afrin in support of Kurdish forces.  


14:24 Syrian Kurds ask France to help stop Turkey

Syria’s Kurds have asked France to help stop a month-long Turkish incursion into the Afrin enclave, French radio station RFI reported.

France could do more to halt the offensive aside from calling for an extraordinary meeting of the United Nations Security Council, Khaled Issa, representative of Syrian Kurds for France, said at a press conference in Paris.


12:00 Turkey "neutralises" 1,715 fighters in Afrin

Turkey's military said on Tuesday it had neutralised 74 People’s Protection Units (YPG) and Islamic State (ISIS) fighters in the last 24 hours, bringing the total to 1,715 since an operation in the Syrian enclave of Afrin began on Jan. 20.