Turkey says no turning again from offensive in Syria

Turkey vows to spare Afrin civilians as reports of 1st non-combatant deaths emerge

Turkish jets bombed the Kurdish-controlled city of Afrin in northern Syria on Saturday, as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan promised to expand Turkey's military border operations against a Kurdish group that has been the U.S.'s key Syria ally in the war on the Islamic State group.

Various news reports have noted that Assad's ally Russian Federation has aligned itself with the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) and the USA -backed Syria Democratic Forces (SDF), a Kurdish-Arab alliance. The Syrian fighters posted videos of men and vehicles preparing for the assault. He is convinced that the Syrian Kurdish organization, the YFP, is really just a branch of Turkey's own PKK (which does have a terrorist past), and he is determined to destroy it.

The ongoing Turkish military operation has prompted Russian forces, stationed in the region, to regroup and relocate military police units and Reconciliation Center operatives to the village of Tell-Adjar to the east of the city of Afrin.

Defence Minister Nurettin Canikli said on Friday that Turkey's operation in the region had started with cross-border shelling, but no troops have gone into Afrin.

"We can not and will not allow support and arming of the YPG terrorist group under the name of an operational partner". The area will be cleansed of terrorist organizations.

Turkey's state news agency also reported that Syrian rebels allied with Turkey were advancing on Afrin, but those reports could not be immediately confirmed. Another commander said hundreds more were stationed in Atmeh, south of Afrin. Russia's foreign ministry said it's treating the developments with "concern". Turkish-backed rebels and USA forces have been trading fire there, USA defense officials said.

"This does not mean that we have taken permission from them".

Ankara fears the separatist sentiment of Syria's Kurds could inspire Turkey's 14 million Kurds and pose threats to Turkey's southern border, where the PKK has been active for years.

Ankara had over recent days expressed fury over a United States plan to train a 30,000-strong body of local fighters, including the YPG, as a "border security force".

"ISIS is still present" and a lethal force, the State Department official said using an acronym for the group.

Russian Federation did not want to get involved in a fight with the Kurds that is 100 years old, he said, and might not help Turkish troops if they got into trouble in Afrin.

Some experts warned that even after areas in Syria have been liberated from IS, the country will need a broader political settlement that reflects regional and national realities to bring displaced people home.

Turkey has made several incursions into Syria. Both Moscow and Tehran immediately accused the United States of planning to partition Syria, and there is some substance in the accusation.

Iran also joined Turkey in hitting out at the proposed plans, saying that it will only cause more instability and "add flames of fire" in an already war-torn country. On Thursday, there were demonstrations in Afrin against any Turkish offensive. The Turkish General Staff has announced that the Turkish military shelled positions of the Syrian Kurds in response to provocative shelling by militants of the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party.

"Afrin people suffer material damage as artillery and missile attacks continue unceasingly", the YPG said, adding that it will respond strongly to the Turkish attacks. Turkey, he said, "will learn a lesson they have not learned before".

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