Turkish forces push into Syria as Afrin offensive enters fourth week

A Syrian girl lies on a stretcher at a hospital after air strikes targeted her hometown of Arbin in Eastern Ghouta on February 06

A Syrian girl lies on a stretcher at a hospital after air strikes targeted her hometown of Arbin in Eastern Ghouta on February 06

Ankara launched an air and ground offensive last month against Kurdish fighters in Syria's Afrin region on its border, opening a new front in the multi-sided Syrian war. The U.S. wants Turkey to limit its military offensive against the Kurds without harming U.S. -Turkey relations.

There was no mention of the ongoing war or words between Ankara, which is engaged in a brutal counterterrorism operation in the northern Syrian enclave of Afrin, and USA and coalition commanders who are warning Turkish forces to stay out of American-controlled territory in Manbij and northeastern Syria. "Come on, get out", the Turkish leader said Wednesday, taking direct aim at American military support for Syrian Kurdish paramilitary forces Ankara claims are directly linked to Kurdish terrorist organizations.

The helicopter is the first aircraft Turkey announced it has lost since the offensive began. "We are at war", Erdoğan added. "We might lose a helicopter, but they'll pay the price for this".

In a statement, the Turkish military said that airstrikes destroyed shelters, hideouts and ammunition depots belonging to the YPG and the Islamic State group, who Turkey says it is also combatting in the operation.


Since the beginning of the operation, the Turkish Armed Forces and Free Syrian Army have managed to capture 48 different strategic areas from militants including a town center, 31 villages, three rural areas and 13 hills. The violence has left hundreds killed and wounded as the Syrian government and its allies sought to consolidate their hold on remaining opposition-controlled areas.

In eastern Ghouta, almost 400,000 residents are trapped by a tightening government siege and violence.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein said that a video was submitted to them, in which a possible use of "toxic agents" was filmed on February 4 in the rebel-held town of Saraqeb, Idlib province.

The position on the resolution of Syria 's ally Russian Federation was not yet known.

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