Afrin Day 34: Turkey says no civilian casualties in Afrin operation
14:21 Callous Turkey operation shows Syria cynicism
Turkey’s incursion into northwestern Syria to attack the Kurds is another example of the ruthless and callous power games emerging in the war-torn country, writes Kersten Knipp for Deutsche Welle.
The Turkish operation reflects the “cynicism” that pervades the behaviour of foreign nations there – Russia is allowing the Turks in seemingly to fuel tension between Ankara and the United States, undermining NATO unity, Knipp said .
12:40 No civilians killed or hurt in Afrin operation, Turkey says
Turkey’s government said no civilians had been killed or hurt during a Turkish military incursion into Afrin in northwest Syria.
Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ, speaking to government-run Anadolu agency, said operations in the Kurdish-controlled enclave were continuing and any militia entering the area would be targeted by Turkish forces.
11:05 Turkey refuses U.S. call for Kurds to attend Syrian talks
Turkey flatly refused U.S. requests that Kurdish groups be represented at talks in Geneva aimed at bringing an end to the civil war in Syria, Sabah newspaper reported.
According to information given to a cabinet meeting chaired by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Turkey’s absolute refusal was conveyed to U.S. officials, including Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, in talks last week.
“The United States is arming a terrorist organization. They are engaged in actions to break up the Republic of Turkey. This is clear… We will not sit at the table with a terrorist organisation,” was the message given to the United States, according to Sabah.
10:00 U.S. doesn’t want to speculate on Turkey expanding Syrian operations
The U.S. military is concentrating on fighting pockets of Islamic State (ISIS) resistance in Syria and the Pentagon does not want to speculate on the prospect of Turkey extending its operations and attempting to take control of Manbij that is currently under the control of the Kurdish Defence Forces (YPG), according to Voice of America which cited an interview given by a U.S. military spokesman to Al Hurra television.
“I do not want to speculate on what might happen at this stage," said Pentagon spokesman Major Adrian Galloway. “Manbij is under the control of the forces that represent the ethnic diversity of the area. There are Arabs, Kurds and others who have been given defensive training.”
9:25 U.S. official says Russia is playing Turkey
A senior official from U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration said Turkey is “getting played by the Russians” as it seeks more regional influence.
Turkey’s alignment with Russia in Syria runs counter to Ankara's interests, the official said , according to the Wall Street Journal.