Turkish troops to enter Afrin at any moment says President Erdogan

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Turkish troops to enter Afrin at any moment says President Erdogan

The city of Manbij, also held by the YPG, was captured from ISIS in a joint US-Kurdish offensive.

Turkey has been waging "Operation Olive Branch" against Syria's Afrin region since January 20 in a bid to eliminate the YPG, which forms the backbone of the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) that enjoys U.S. support.

According to Anadolu Agency correspondents on the ground, Maryamayn and Anab villages, located east of Afrin center, were cleared of YPG/PKK terrorists. As of now, we have Afrin encircled.

Rami Abel Rahman, head of the Britain-based Observatory, said the aim was to besiege Afrin, cutting it off from other areas.

Ankara says the YPG is the Syrian branch of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which has fought a three-decade insurgency in southeast Turkey.

The US and the YPG terror group, which have been receiving American weapons and support under the pretext of fighting Daesh, are stationed in Manbij and on the eastern side of the Euphrates River.

"This is an introductory meeting where we can start to hopefully work out some of these issues", Nauert added.

Tensions between the USA and Turkey has escalated as a result of the operation, with Ankara accusing Washington of leaving pockets of Daesh militants in Syria intact to justify continued cooperation with Kurdish forces in the country.

The assault on Afrin is part of Operation Olive Branch, a Turkish military offensive to oust Kurdish fighters in northwestern Syria.

Since the beginning of the operation, the Turkish military and the Free Syrian Army have cleared more than 159 locations, including five town centres, 124 villages, 30 strategic areas and one YPG base. The target is to get 2,000 square kilometers under our control, Recep Tayyip Erdogan told a public rally in the southern Mersin province.

The operation is being carried out under the framework of Turkey's rights based on global law, UN Security Council resolutions, its self-defense rights under the UN charter, and respect for Syria's territorial integrity, it said.

"To date 850 square kilometers have been taken under our control".

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