Turkish artillery fires in northern Syria after border town hit

Reuters

Reuters

The People's Protection Units, or YPG, are essential to the Syrian Democratic Forces that have worked with the USA -led anti-Daesh (IS) coalition to push so-called Islamic State from Syria.

USA officials have urged Turkey to restrain its offensive against the Kurds in Syria and focus on destroying the remnants of ISIS instead.

Erdogan said the offensive in Afrin will push east into the Manbij region, creating a buffer zone between the PKK in Turkey and Kurdish forces in Syria.

Hundreds of Kurds also demonstrated in Berlin to protest against the Turkish military operation Afrin.

On the first day of the offensive, 72 Turkish warplanes reportedly conducted airstrikes on Afrin, ahead of the move by the ground forces, which crossed into Syria on Sunday from Turkey's border province of Kilis.

"This operation will take place; the terror organization will be cleansed", Canikli said in reference to the Syrian Kurdish group, the People's Protection Units, or YPG, which Turkey says is an extension of an outlawed Kurdish rebel group that it's fighting inside its own borders.

A senior Turkish official told Reuters that the Free Syrian Army also joined the operation to support the Turkish forces.

Turkey is seeking to oust Kurdish fighters from the Afrin province, which he fighters have controlled since 2012.

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"The goal of the Republic of Turkey is not, and may never be, to bring prejudice to the territorial integrity of Syria", Yildirim said, according to Anadolu News.

"We would only expect France to support us in a situation like this", Cavusoglu said.

Yesterday's strikes on the Syrian-Kurdish YPG militia hit some 108 targets, the Turkish military said.

The operation pits Turkey against Kurdish fighters allied to the United States at a time when ties between Turkey and Washington - NATO allies and members of the coalition against Islamic State - appear dangerously close to a breaking point.

In a statement, Washington urged its North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally Turkey to "exercise restraint and ensure that its military operations remain limited in scope and duration and avoid civilian casualties".

Turkey will continue operation in northwestern Afrin region, Syria until the last terrorist is "neutralized", Turkish foreign minister said on Sunday.

The Afrin region under assault by Turkish forces is home to at least 800,000 civilians, including refugees from the Syrian civil war, according to the Associated Press.

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