Several people wounded by Turkish airstrikes on Syrian Kurdish city of Afrin

Several people wounded by Turkish airstrikes on Syrian Kurdish city of Afrin

Turkey on January 20 launched a new ground and air operation against an enclave controlled by US -backed Kurdish fighters in northwestern Syria, disregarding USA warnings that such a move could destabilize the region further.

YPG spokesman Birusk Hasaka told Reuters one of the fighters belonged to the YPG and the two others were from its all-female affiliate, the YPJ.

"Every kind of attention and sensitivity will be shown so that civilians and innocent people will not be harmed", Gen. Hulusi Akar from the Turkish General Staff said in a video address.

The army said it hit in "legitimate self defence" camps and refuges used by the YPG in response to fire coming from the Afrin region controlled by the militia group, which Turkey deems to be a terror organisation. There are also reports of busloads of Sunni Arab guerrillas of the rebel Free Syrian Army, who had been sheltered in Turkey, being sent into Afrin. "We reiterate our call on all concerned parties to avoid further escalation and any acts that could deepen the suffering of the Syrian people", Dujarric said.

Turkey from August 2016 to March 2017 pushed into Syria in its more than half-year Euphrates Shield operation in an area to the east of Afrin against both YPG and Daesh.

Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency reported Friday afternoon that Russian military personnel in the Afrin area were withdrawing from their positions but Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov later issued a strong denial.

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He slammed the US decision to establish a new border army with the YPG fighters in order to secure Turkish and Iraqi borders with Syria.

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said in televised comments that air strikes targeting the enclave, Afrin, were aimed at eliminating "elements" of the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) militia in Syria and Islamic State (IS) militants.

Russian Federation controls the airspace over Afrin.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson later said the "entire situation has been mis-portrayed, mis-described", admitting "we owe them [Turkey] an explanation".

"So nobody can object if we do what is necessary", said Erdogan, threatening to pursue the operations up to the Iraqi border.

YPG fighters based further east, in Jazira (Turkish Cezire), had been key to taking back Raqqa province from ISIL, and Kurds likely feel betrayed that the United States hasn't stood up for them more against Turkey.

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