Turkish forces deployed in Operation Euphrates Shield have fired five howitzers in districts of the city of Tell Rifaat to the southeast of Afrin, according to CNN Turk. The strikes were aimed at Kurdish YPG/PKK forces, which are considered to be a terrorist organization by Ankara.
Several days earlier, the YPG/PKK reportedly organised two attacks targeting civilians in Afrin's city centre. As a result of the attacks, 10 civilians lost their lives and 18 more were injured.
Control of Tell Rifaat
The day before a Syrian security source told Sputnik that the Kurdish Self Defence Forces (YPG) had agreed to transfer control over Tell Rifaat to the Syrian Armed Forces. However, the Turkish president has rejected the reports, stating that a convoy of Syrian government forces which attempted to enter the blockaded city of Afrin had retreated following Turkish warning fire in the area.
Recently, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was speaking about a second similar operation: this time, on the eastern bank of the Euphrates, as well as in Manbij, Syria, located near the Turkish border, if the United States does not facilitate the pull-out of the militia from the region.
Later, the Turkish president postponed the operation following a 14 December phone conversation with US President Donald Trump, who later announced plans to withdraw US troops from Syria.