Turkish, Syrian Soldiers Face Off in Kurdish-held Afrin

Turkey has shelled pro-Syrian government forces as they entered the city of Afrin in support of the Kurdish SDF militia.

The Turkish bombing of Syrian regime fighters marks another escalation in the Syrian war, which has turned to a series of proxy wars pitting regional powers against each other: Turkey vs Kurds, Regime vs rebels, IS vs regime, IS vs rebels, Israel vs Iran and Hezbollah…

Footage broadcast by Hezbollah and Syrian regime-allied outlets showed convoys of tanks carrying Syrian flags and soldiers brandishing weapons entering the northwestern part of the country from Aleppo on Tuesday. Syrian state media reported they had been targeted by Turkish shellfire.

Erdogan described the convoy as being made up of “terrorists” acting independently. He said Turkish artillery fire had forced it to turn back, although the Kurdish militia denied this.

“Unfortunately, these kinds of terror organizations take wrong steps with the decisions they take. It is not possible for us to allow this. They will pay a heavy price,” said the President of Turkey where YPG Kurdish fighters are considered a terrorist group and an extension of the PKK.

The YPG hailed the arrival of the pro-government forces – which included militias allied to Assad but not the Syrian army itself – and said they were deploying along the front line facing the Turkish border.

The Turkish offensive has made gains along almost all the border area with Afrin, pushing several km (miles) into Syria and seizing villages. But the YPG still holds most of the region including its main town, also called Afrin.

Written by