The Deputy PM has revealed Turkey's plans concerning the offensive, saying that the country's forces would not remain in Afrin, instead leaving the city to its "real owners."
Meanwhile, Anadolu Agency, a Turkish news agency reported that a bomb had been planted by Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) that killed at least 7 civilians and 4 Free Syrian Army (FSA) fighters in part of central Afrin which had earlier been cleared by Turkish military and FSA, citing a security source.
The bomb went off late Sunday in a four-story building in Afrin, killing at least 7 civilians and 4 FSA fighters, the agency specified.
While fighting rages in #EasternGhouta, tens of thousands of people are suffering in #Afrin.— ICRC Syria (@ICRC_sy) March 19, 2018
Desperate and terrified, thousands are fleeing every day with no place to stay, little food, water and medical care. pic.twitter.com/SVU7B6pGBG
The explosion took place amid Ankara's recent advance in the area: Turkish-backed forces managed to take over the town center on Sunday. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that the Turkish army and FSA units entered Afrin and established full control over the settlement.
Ankara launched Operation Olive Branch on January 20 to neutralize YPG groups in Afrin. Turkey maintains that YPG is linked to the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which is listed as a terrorist organization in Turkey. The Syrian government has condemned the operation as a breach of the country's sovereignty.
The offensive has been strongly condemned by Damascus, which decried Turkey's move as "a violation of the country's sovereignty."
Responding to these accusations, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said that preservation of the territorial integrity of Syria is the common goal of Ankara and Damascus and that Turkish troops are not going to attack government forces in Syria.