Turkey warns against pro-Syria regime forces in Afrin
ANKARA - Anadolu Agency
Turkish Deputy Prime Minister and government spokesman Bekir Bozdağ on Feb. 19 called Syrian state-run news agency reports on pro-regime forces preparing to enter Afrin “unrealistic,” saying this has not been confirmed by officials.
“Although the official Syrian news agency SANA has reported that some forces linked to the Syrian regime will enter Afrin, this news has not been confirmed by official authorities. It is unrealistic, not related to the fact,” Bozdağ told reporters following the cabinet meeting in the capital Ankara.
“Any decision by the Syrian regime to send forces in Afrin to support the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party/People’s Protection Units [PYD/YPG] terror organizations or any step taken in this direction will have disastrous consequences for the region,” Bozdağ added.
Earlier, state-run news agency SANA reported that pro-regime “Popular Forces” would enter Afrin in northwestern Syria where a Turkish military operation to remove YPG militants is ongoing.
The YPG is said to have held talks with the Syrian regime after more than 70 different strategic areas were liberated as a result of Turkey’s “Operation Olive Branch.”
Turkey launched “Operation Olive Branch” on Jan. 20 to clear YPG militants from Afrin.
Bozdağ said 1,651 militants have been “neutralized” since the launch of the operation.
Meanwhile, the YPG has targeted civilians in Turkey with around 100 cross-border attacks, leading to seven civilian deaths and 125 wounded.