Ankara, 'end of Afrin offensive by May, then Iraq'

Posted March 10, 2018

"We can enter it at any moment", said Erdogan at the inauguration of the governing Justice and Development (AK) Party's Politics Academy in capital Ankara.

In January, Ankara launched an offensive against the Kurdish fighters in Syria's Afrin region, which includes the central town with several villages and swathes of countryside around it.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan repeatedly vows to "clean the region from this trouble completely", signaling that the offensive against PKK and the affiliated group will not remain merely with the operation in Afrin.

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In September 2017, US-backed SDF forces launched an offensive against the self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) in the Deir ez-Zor Governorate with the goal of recapturing territory east of the Euphrates. "So hopefully, we can make some headway at that level today".

"We hope that the USA will give up supporting terrorist organizations". On a visit to Ankara last month, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that Turkey and the US had to solve the tensions surrounding Manbij as a "priority".

Turkish authorities often use the word "neutralised" in their statements to imply the terrorists in question either surrendered or were killed or captured.

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On March 8, Turkish forces and their Syrian rebel allies seized control of the town of Jinderes, state media reported, giving them control of one of the largest settlements in the Afrin district.

Turkey has battled a decades-old insurgency in its mainly Kurdish southeast and sees the Syrian Kurdish group a growing power on its southern border threatening Turkish security.

The military also said only terror targets were being destroyed and "utmost care" was being taken to not harm civilians.

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"The entire [area] is 2,000 square kilometer". He predicted the invasion of Afrin, in northern Syria, would be completed by then.