Feb 12 2018

Afrin Day 24: Turkey warns of total breakdown in U.S. relations

17:20 Hundreds dead on Turkish side in Afrin battles - report

Hundreds of soldiers of the Turkish military and Free Syrian Army (FSA) have died since Turkey began an offensive against Kurdish forces in northern Syria three weeks ago, Al-Masdar News (AMN) said.

The total death toll is approaching 200, data from Syrian opposition-leaning war monitoring groups showed, according to the media group, known to be close to the Syrian government.

16:25 Turkey warns U.S. relations could break down altogether

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu warned relations with the United States could break down completely if Washington does not remove Kurdish forces from the area around the Syrian town of Manbij.

Çavuşoğlu’s comments came a day after U.S. National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster visited Turkey for a series of high-level meetings and ahead of a trip to Ankara this week by U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. The warning is an indication that the meetings with McMaster likely made little progress.

16:20 Turkey says 31 dead, 143 injured in Afrin operation

Turkey's military said 31 soldiers have been killed in an incursion into the Kurdish enclave of Afrin in northern Syria since operations began on Jan. 20.

The number of wounded stood at 143, the military said in a statement on its website on Monday.

12:16 Acrimony flares ahead of Tillerson visit to Turkey

Tensions are increasing between the United States and Turkey ahead of visits by top U.S. officials, with the Turkish press accusing Washington of supplying Kurds with weapons that are used to destroy Turkish military hardware.

Turkey’s pro-government media says the United States is becoming an enemy of Ankara as Turkish troops push further inside the Kurdish Syrian enclave of Afrin to do battle with Kurds allied with Washington, Thomas Seibert said in the Arab Weekly. Turkey says the Kurds are terrorists due to their affiliation with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

11:27 Kurds reach deal with Assad over soldiers to Afrin

Kurdish militants battling Turkey’s army in northern Syria say they have secured the agreement of Russia and Syria to allow reinforcements to be sent to the Kurdish enclave of Afrin.

The Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) has reached an understanding with the regime of Bashar al Assad, Kino Gabriel, a spokesman for the YPG, according to Al Jazeera.

"There are different ways to get reinforcements to Afrin, but the fundamental route is via regime forces,” he said. “There are understandings between the two forces ... for the sake of delivering reinforcements to Afrin."

10:18: Mattis says Turkish op drawing off anti-ISIS forces

Turkey's cross-border operation in Syria's Afrin is causing the Kurds to redeploy some forces away from the fight with Islamic State (ISIS), U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis said late on Sunday ahead of a critical meeting with his Turkish counterpart.

The operation, which began three weeks ago, "is drawing off some of the Syrian Democratic Forces" when "they see their fellow Kurds in Afrin under attack," Mattis told a group of jourrnalists on a trip to the Middle East and Europe. Mattis is due to meet Turkish Defense Minister Nurettin Canikli this week in Brussels to discuss the situations in Afrin and neighbouring Manbij in northern Syria.

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(All times Turkish)

All updates about the twenty-third day of Turkey’s military operation on Syria’s Afrin are here: