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SYRIA: Turkey Launches Operation ‘Olive Branch’

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Smoke billows in the Syria's Afrin region, as it is pictured from the Turkish-Syrian border in Hatay province, Turkey, Jan. 20, 2018. (Xinhua)

Turkey begins military operation ‘Olive Branch’ in Syria.┬áThree Turkish F-16 jets launched 11 airstrikes on Kurdish positions on the outskirts of Kurdish-held Afrin in northern Syria near the Turkish border, marking the official beginning of the Turkish military campaign against the Syrian Kurdish fighters in the region….reports Asian lite News

Smoke billows in the Syria’s Afrin region, as it is pictured from the Turkish-Syrian border in Hatay province, Turkey, Jan. 20, 2018. (Xinhua)

Turkish Foreign Ministry has informed the ambassadors of Iran, Russia and the US in Ankara about a military operation launched by Turkey’s army in Afrin in Syria, a ministry official said.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu also held a phone conversation with US counterpart Rex Tillerson in the wake of the announcement of the air strikes on Saturday by Turkish Air forces, at Washington’s request, the official told media on the condition of anonymity.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced on Saturday the military operation in Syria’s Afrin has “actively” started.

Three Turkish F-16 jets launched 11 airstrikes on Kurdish positions on the outskirts of Kurdish-held Afrin in northern Syria near the Turkish border, marking the official beginning of the Turkish military campaign against the Syrian Kurdish fighters in the region.

Turkey is determined to ensure its national security and to clear its borders of the People’s Protection Units (YPG), which is considered by Ankara as the Syrian affiliate of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Turkish war jets have been hitting the YPG positions in Afrin on Saturday after days of shelling from the border.

The Turkish Army stated that the operation is named “Olive Branch”.

The Russian Defence Ministry said it had pulled its servicemen out of Syria’s Afrin city, where Turkey was waging an offensive against Kurdish forces.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced on Saturday that the military operation in Syria’s Afrin has “actively” started. (Xinhua)

The operational group of the Russian Center for Reconciliation of Warring Parties in Syria and the military police in Afrin were relocated to the Tell-Adjar area within the Tell-Rifat de-escalation zone to avert possible provocations and dangers, the Defence Ministry said in a statement on Saturday.

Meanwhile, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement that Moscow is concerned about the Turkish military operation in Afrin and it is closely monitoring the development of the situation.

“We call on the opposing sides to exercise mutual restraint,” it said.

The Turkish attack on Kurdish forces in Afrin will likely cast a shadow over the upcoming Syrian National Dialogue Congress, which is being brokered by Russia, Turkey and Iran for a political settlement of the Syrian conflict.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson discussed ensuring stability in northern Syria by phone Saturday, after Turkey started bombing Kurdish forces in Afrin in northern Syria.

The Russian Foreign Ministry on Saturday said Lavrov and Tillerson also discussed promoting a peaceful settlement of the Syrian conflict under the auspices of the United Nations, which should be facilitated by the Syrian National Dialogue Congress to be held in Russia’s city of Sochi with broad participation

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