SYRIA has ‘strongly condemned’ the ‘flagrant Turkish aggression’ on the city of Afrin, calling on the international community to take steps to stop it immediately.
An official at the Foreign and Expatriates Ministry said on Saturday that the Syrian Arab Republic strongly condemns the flagrant Turkish aggression on the city of Afrin, which is an integral part of Syrian territory, stressing that this aggression is the most recent in a series of Turkish transgressions against Syrian sovereignty.
The official affirmed that Syria refutes the claims made by Turkey about it being notified of this military operation, saying that these claims are part of the series of lies that the Turkish government continues to spout. The official concluded by saying that Syria demands that the international community condemn this aggression and take the necessary steps to stop it immediately.
The Council of Dignitaries and Tribes’ Leaders of Hasaka, Syria, also strongly condemned the Turkish aggression on the Afrin area in Aleppo stressing: ‘Afrin and Manbij and northern Syria as a whole are inseparable parts of the territories of the Syrian Arab Republic and the aggression on Afrin is an aggression against the Syrian people,’ the statement said, calling for uniting the ranks to face the new Ottoman arrogance.
On Saturday, Turkey announced that an air and ground campaign, dubbed ‘Olive Branch’, had been launched at 14:00 GMT, targeting the US-backed Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) and Islamic State (IS) group jihadists.
The Turkish Army announced on Saturday evening that 72 fighter jets had returned safely to their bases after bombing raids on Afrin, killing seven civilians and causing material damage. ”Out of 113 designated targets of the Democratic Union Party, Kurdish Syrian terrorist group, 108 have been destroyed as of 18:30 (15:30 GMT). All the killed and wounded people, who have been sent to hospitals, are members of terrorist groups,’ said the Turkish General Staff in a statement quoted by Anadolu news agency.
Russia’s Foreign Ministry said Moscow was concerned about the beginning of Turkey’s offensive in Afrin and urged the warring sides to exercise restraint. However, Turkey’s PM Binali Yildirim said yesterday that Turkish ground troops had crossed into northern Syria.
Binali Yildirim said the aim was to establish a 30km (19-mile) ‘safe zone’ inside Syria. He said Russia does not object to the operation in Syria’s Afrin. ‘We are working to eliminate Iran’s concerns, and Russia does not have objections,’ NTV television channel quoted him as saying.