18:14 GMT +319 December 2018
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    The main entrance to the city of Afrin, along Syria's northern border with Turkey

    Turkish Military Op Against Kurds in Syria's Afrin Could Begin 'Any Time Soon'

    © AFP 2018 / George OURFALIAN
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    A joint military operation between the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and the Turkish Armed Forces against Kurdish military units in the Syrian city of Afrin could take place any time soon, a FSA commander told Sputnik Turkey.

    The commander of the Syrian opposition, who spoke to Sputnik on the condition of anonymity, said that the operation will have several stages.

    "At the first stage, we plan to take control the city of Tall Rifaat, as well as the local airbase, and then we plan to begin with the siege of Afrin, which is under the control of Kurdish YPG forces. Our goal is not to enter the territory of Afrin, but rather to clear the territories located near the Turkish border from YPG," the commander said.

    "We have been getting ready for the operation for 2 months; the last preparations are now underway," he added.

    Around 20,000 members of opposition Free Syrian Army (FSA) and Turkish troops will participate in a new military operation in the northwestern Syrian Afrin region, which is under control of the Syrian Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), Turkish Sabah newspaper reported on earlier.

    "The operation can start at any moment. The Turkish forces are stationed in Marra, Azaz and in the north of Idlib. Only those FSA units which were previously involved in the Euphrates Shield will take part in the upcoming operation. The US-backed FSA militants won't participate in the fighting in the Afrin area. We don't trust them, as they can pass information on to the Kurdish self-defense units," the FSA commander said.

    Afrin is located in the province of Aleppo and belongs to the de facto autonomous region of Rojava, which was proclaimed by the Kurds in the north of Syria. Turkey considers the Syrian Kurdish associations to be a wing of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which Turkey has banned.

    Nuri Mehmud, an official representative of the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), earlier said in an interview with Sputnik Turkey that the group will defend its territory if there is an attack on Afrin from Turkey.

    Related:

    Syrian Kurds Say Turkish Troops Preparing for Offensive on Town of Afrin
    Turkish Artillery Fire Injured 10 Civilians in Syria’s Afrin - YPG Spokesman
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    offensive, Kurds, military operation, Afrin, Turkey, Syria
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