March 22, 2018

France calls for opening of humanitarian corridors in Syria

10 February 2018, 09:23 | Taylor George

Israeli f-16 fighter jet. Reuters file

Israeli f-16 fighter jet. Reuters file

United States forces are present in Manbij, and despite Turkish demands say they don't intend to leave.

"As we were pulling out the children and the dead from under the rubble, they targeted us with five rockets - directly targeting us", said Hafi, 24. State TV said insurgent shelling killed two people and wounded four in Damascus.

This came after militants in adjacent Idlib province downed a Russian fighter jet and killed the pilot on February 3, the AP said, citing unconfirmed Turkish media reports.

Meanwhile, Turkish officials said the leaders of Turkey, Russia and Iran will meet in Istanbul to discuss peace efforts for Syria.

The Turkish Army is now working alongside the Free Syrian Army and its offspring the Syrian National Army, both backed by Turkey against the Syrian official government.

The Turkish military in a statement did not specify a reason for why the helicopter fell. Russian Federation is the main ally of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

A member of Afrin's civil administration, Hevi Mustafa, was quoted by Reuters as saying the Turkish offensive had so far killed 160 people, including 26 children and 17 women.

The attacks on the besieged rebel enclave east of the capital are part of a fierce government offensive that has killed 228 civilians since Monday, AFP said, citing the United Kingdom-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

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According to the Turkish General Staff, the operation aims to establish security and stability along Turkey's borders and the region as well as to protect Syrians from terrorist oppression and cruelty.

Turkish advances into Afrin appear to have at least temporarily slowed thanks to the lack of air support backing Turkish ground forces, and Kurdish forces are able to re-group and stage attacks without fear of an airstrike or aerial assault.

Since 2011, Syrians Kurds have formed three autonomous cantons in the north.

The U.S. views the PYD/YPG/PKK as a "reliable partner" in its fight against Daesh and continues to provide it with arms and equipment against strong objections by Turkey, which has documented how it is the Syrian offshoot of the PKK terror group.

"If the Turkish state claims that Afrin is a threat to its national security, it should prove that its borders with the protection units [YPG or YPJ] have witnessed any violations", she said.

Turkey sees the YPG - trained, armed and supported by the USA to fight against ISIL - as an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which has fought a bloody, decades-long uprising in the country.

Signalling that the air defense system is a "message to everyone", the commander said the defense system covers "the air space of the Syrian north", which includes the Kurdish-held Afrin region now besieged by Turkey.

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