Syrian Popular Forces Support Population in Afrin Enclave

YPG  PKK-Daesh terrorist groups shell southern Turkey

The Turkish government claims that the YPG is an offshoot of the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK), which has mounted a rebellion against the state in mainly Kurdish southeastern Turkey for more than 30 years.

"There was a movement towards Afrin by Shiite militias which were interrupted after they were shelled", Erdogan said at a joint news conference alongside his Macedonian counterpart Gjorge Ivanov in Ankara.

Before they entered, Erdogan said he had won Russian President Vladimir Putin's backing to block a Syrian government deployment to Afrin.

The Turkish government has warned that pro-Syrian government forces would face "serious consequences" for entering Syria's Afrin region to help Kurdish fighters repel the Turkish offensive.

Lavrov's statement came amid unconfirmed reports that the Syrian regime and the Syrian Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) agreed that the latter would leave Afrin city center to the control of the Syrian army. Kalin added that Turkey was not in direct talks with the Syrian government, but its messages were being indirectly conveyed. "They pressure the Turks with the Kurdish card (and vice versa)", said Youssef, a senior member of the Kurdish-led autonomous authority in north Syria.

A picture taken on February 20, 2018 shows a convoy of pro-Syrian government fighters arriving in Syria's northern region of Afrin.

China demands 'severe punishment' for man who stole thumb from terracotta warrior
An external security contractor did not follow "standard closing procedures" on the night of the party, Santo said last week. The 24-year-old allegedly touched the left hand of the statue and is said to have broken off a piece, pocketed it and left.

"They would pay a heavy price for it", Erdogan warned.

Seemingly contradicting Ankara's position, Syrian state news agency SANA on Wednesday reported that there were "new groups of popular forces arriving in Afrin" to support the local fighters against "the continued aggression of the Turkish regime".

Ankara's month-old offensive is reportedly aimed at driving the US-backed People's Protection Units (YPG), which it sees as a big security threat on its border, from Afrin.

Oner Bucukcu, a political analyst at Turkey's Afyon Kocatepe University, said he expected the escalation to end, probably with Russia's intervention, "before triggering a direct clash".

Ankara says it is determined to carry on its operation whatever happens. It is unclear whether the Iran-backed troops are inside the eponymous city.

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