Turkey takes control of Afrin in Syria

Civilians passed Turkish-backed Syrian fighters as they advanced on Afrin city

GAZIANTEP, Turkey - Syrian rebels backed by Turkey seized control Sunday of the city of Afrin, the target of a two-month military operation against Kurdish militias in the enclave in Syria. Meanwhile, Syrian forces have taken more than 80 percent of Eastern Ghouta, and a spokesperson from a main rebel faction told The Daily Star they were in "serious" negotiations with the United Nations about a cease-fire agreement.

"As of 0830 this morning, the Free Syrian Army, with the support of the Turkish Armed Forces, have gained total control over Afrin town center", Erdogan said on Twitter.

Turkey now says it will extend the offensive to other Kurdish regions where USA forces are stationed alongside the YPG, an ally against so called ISIL.

As the original battles in Syria's civil war draw to an end, with government forces pummeling the few remaining rebel-held areas and Islamic State on the retreat, new fronts have opened up as local, regional and global powers try to stake out positions for the post-war period. "In the center of Afrin, symbols of trust and stability are waving instead of rags of terrorists".

The fighting for the Kurdish corridor in Syria has led 150,000 to flee over the last three days, according to the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

A WhatsApp group run by the Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces called the act a "blatant violation of Kurdish people's culture and history".




They called on the United Nations, European powers, Muslim countries and members of the US -led military coalition against Islamic State to "take steps to immediately avert the tragedy in Afrin and get concrete results, including withdrawal of all armed forces who entered Afrin".

Turkey's armed forces said in a statement that troops were combing the streets for mines and improvised explosive devices. Now the Turkish flag is flying there.

"We have more to do". Ankara said the demand did not apply to Afrin, but its operation has faced criticism in the West.

A spokesman for the FSA also said they entered Afrin before dawn, meeting no resistance.

YPG fighters also escaped before the Turkish-led force moved in but not before burning infrastructure and mining the city.

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