Afrin Day 46: Turkey slams U.S. for backing Kurdish general
13:58 Erdoğan says Afrin operation to gain serious momentum
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Turkey’s incursion into Syria’s Afrin will gain serious momentum as it turns its eyes on the region’s central city.
The Turkish military has met some fierce resistance, particularly around the town of Jindires, 20 kilometres southwest of Afrin, but that obstacle will soon be removed and troops will then surround Afrin city, where Kurdish terrorists are hiding out, Erdoğan told members of his ruling party in a speech in Ankara on Tuesday.
13:22 Turkey says "neutralised" 77 more terrorists in Afrin
Turkey’s military said it “neutralised” 77 more Kurdish and Islamic State (ISIS) fighters in its military operation in the Afrin region of Syria.
The latest figures brought the number of militants who have been killed, captured or have surrendered since the operation began on Jan. 20 to 2,872, the military said in a statementon its website on Tuesday.
12:15 U.S. backs Kurdish commander, prompting Turkish rebuke
The Pentagon voiced its backing for a Kurdish military commander leading the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in Syria’s Manbij, prompting a swift rebuke from Turkey.
Pentagon spokesman Colonel Robert Manning told reporters on Monday that “we (the United States) will continue to support General Mazloum and the local Syrian military in those liberated areas”.
But Mazloum, also known as General Mazloum Kobani and Ferhad Abdi Şahin, a Turkish name, has been on Turkey’s list of most-wanted terrorists since Oct. 28, 2015, according to the Hurriyet newspaper.