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    Turkish artillery fires toward Syrian Kurdish positions in Afrin area, Syria, from Turkish side of the border in Hatay, Turkey, Friday, Feb. 9, 2018

    No One Can Stop Turkish Forces if Syrian Army Enters Afrin - FM

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    The Turkish foreign minister has commented on recent reports made by Syrian state TV that pro-Syrian government forces would enter Syria's Afrin "within hours."

    "We have started an operation in Afrin in order to get rid of the threat to our national security. We still insist on this."

    However, the foreign minister went on to say, "Now the question is - will the forces of the regime [of Syrian President Bashar Assad] enter Afrin or not? And if they enter, then for what purpose? If they come to clear it from the YPG, there are no problems. If they support terrorists, no one will stop us. This applies to Afrin, Manbij and the east of the Euphrates," Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said, as aired by the NTV broadcaster.

    Meanwhile, the Lebanese media outlet Al-Masdar News reports of a massive artillery bombardment of Afrin by the Turkish army, aimed, as the media claimed, to prevent the entry of Syrian troops into the area.

    A similar report has been made by Al Mayadeen TV channel, saying that the Syrian forces could hardly enter Afrin today, as the Turkish forces have been shelling the routes to the city. According to the media outlet, at least eight people have been wounded as a result of the attack.

    Nonetheless, the information about the shelling has not been confirmed by any side of the conflict.   

    Possible Syrian Forces' Deployment

    The statement was made after earlier in the day, Senior Kurdish official, Badran Jia Kurd, told the Reuters news agency that Syrian Kurdish forces and the country's government had agreed on the deployment of Syrian army troops along border positions in the Afrin region, aiming to curb the Turkish military operation, and that the military would enter the besieged Afrin within the next two days.

    READ MORE: Pro-Syrian Gov't Forces to Enter Afrin 'Within Hours' - State Media

    However, this information has been refuted by a YPG representative in Afrin Brusk Haseke, who had called them false and fake news in his interview to Sputnik, saying that the Syrian government forces would not enter Afrin.

    As he explained, due to the false information circulating, civilians in Afrin and Aleppo mistakenly believe that the Syrian army had entered the city, while it was simply civilian buses that had arrived. 

    As Haseke specified, the YPG would make an announcement if the Syrian forces entered Afrin or if an agreement had been reached on the issue or "the situation changes in any way." However, he failed to comment on whether there were any corresponding negotiations between the Syrian army and the YPG regarding the matter.

    READ MORE: Damascus to Deploy Forces in Afrin - Reports

    At the same time, YPG commander Sipan Hemo stated that the Syrian army should take the biggest part of the responsibility for the defense of Afrin against what he called a Turkish invasion, urging Damascus to "immediately send in reinforcements to the border region with Turkey."

    READ MORE: YPG Official Rep: Syria Should Close Airspace for Turkish Jets

    Olive Branch

    The offensive against Kurdish militants in Afrin, dubbed "Olive Branch," was launched on January 20. The Turks started a massive attack against the US-backed Kurdish People's Protection Units, or YPG groups, which now control Afrin and are deemed by Ankara to be affiliated with the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) - a terrorist organization, according to Turkey. 

    Commenting on the Turkish operation, Damascus has slammed it as "treacherous aggression" and calling it an attempt to undermine's the country's sovereignty.

    Tags:
    Operation Olive Branch, Syrian Armed Forces, Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), Mevlut Cavusoglu, Turkey, Syria
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