Afrin Day 33: Turkish says Afrin operation continuing as planned
18:24 Turkish attack on Assad convoy risks further flashpoint
Turkey’s shelling of a convoy of fighters loyal to President Bashar Assad on Tuesday risks another international flashpoint in Syria’s civil war, the Financial Times said.
The domestic conflict in Syria is becoming overshadowed by dangerous international power plays, such as the shooting down of an Israeli jet earlier this month that was attacking an Iranian target. Possible further clashes between Turkey and Assad-backed forces now adds another dimension to an already crowded battlefield, the FT reported .
14:38 Syrian civil war gets even more complicated
Syria’s move on Tuesday to send pro-government militias to reinforce Kurdish forces under siege in northwestern Syria by Turkish troops has made the civil war even more complicated than it was and has deeply angered Ankara, writes Ishaan Tharoor in The Washington Post.
The fighting in the enclave of Afrin began last month when Turkey invaded with an aim to dislodge Kurdish fighters of the People’s Defence Forces (YPG). Ankara claims the YPG are directly linked to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) that has been fighting for autonomy for Kurds in southeast Turkey since 1984.
14:36 Turkey's slow and costly Afrin adventure
When it was launched on Jan. 20th, Turkey’s population was assured that “Operation Olive Branch”, the invasion of the Kurdish-controlled Syrian enclave of Afrin, would be brought to a swift and victorious conclusion.
But, more than a month after the invasion began, things are not turning out that way, wrote Paul Iddon in the blog “War is Boring.”
12:16 Turkish army says Afrin operation continues unabated
Troops on the ground in the Kurdish-controlled region are being supported by fighter jets and artillery, the military said in a statement on Wednesday.
The statement came the day after the Syrian government and witnesses said pro-regime fighters had entered Afrin to support the local population in its defence of the region against Turkey.
9:54 U.S. influence in Syria collapses over Afrin
Kurdish forces in the Syrian canton of Afrin calling for and receiving support from Syrian government-allied militias represent the continuing collapse of U.S. influence in the region, according to an article in the Asia Times by David P. Pullman.
Pro-Syrian government militia entered the northwestern Syria enclave of Afrin on Tuesday and were reportedly shelled upon by Turkish artillery.
Having backed and trained Kurdish militants in northern Syria to fight Islamic State (ISIS), the United States has abandoned the Kurdish People’s Defence Forces (YPG) in the enclave of Afrin, leaving them alone to face Turkish soldiers that invaded last month.
9:20 Syria chess game won't stall Turkey: Erdoğan adviser
A grand international chess game is being played out in Syria, but it won’t stop Turkey from securing its borders, according to Ilnur Çevik, senior adviser to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
The regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad should be thankful to Turkey, “because once a political solution is reached in Syria, Turkey will hand over all these areas to the rightful administrators in Damascus,” Çevik said in a column for the Daily Sabah newspaper on Wednesday.