EU's Mogherini 'extremely worried' by ongoing Turkish offensive in Syria


The YPG's Afrin spokesman, Birusk Hasaka, said there were clashes between Kurdish and Turkish-backed forces on the third day of the operation, and that Turkish shelling had hit civilian areas in Afrin's north-east.

The operation was launched days after Washington said it would work with the Kurdish militants to set up a 30,000-strong border force near Turkish soil, a move that infuriated Ankara.

Erdogan launched Operation Olive Branch against the Syrian Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG/YPJ) last week in response to an American announcement that the US coalition against the Islamic State would create a "border security force" to prevent the Islamic State (ISIS) from reconstructing its "caliphate" in Syria.

Nobody has the right to impose limits on Turkey's operation against the USA -backed Kurdish militia the People's Protection Units (YPG), Bozdag told reporters following a cabinet meeting.

On Saturday Turkey launches operation "Olive Branch" into Syria intending to oust the YPG militia from its enclave of Afrin.

Turkey considers the YPG to be a "terrorist" group as well as the Syrian offshoot of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) which has waged a bloody three-decade insurgency against the Turkish state. Nowhere did the secretary explain why the end of a regime that, under Hafez as well as Bashar al-Assad, has been in power for 48 years should suddenly have become such a US objective.

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Divergence of views on the YPG has been one of the major sources of tension between Turkey and the United States, which view the militia group as an ally in the war against ISIS. "We pray for strength and courage for the YPG", Zuheir Hussein, 32, told AFP.

U.S. Defense Secretary says Turkey gave the U.S. military advance notice of its airstrikes against Kurdish targets in northern.

France called for an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council on Monday, and Britain said it would look for ways to prevent any further escalation. Nor did he explain how, given that Assad, with the help of his Russian and Iranian supporters, has clearly shored up his regime's position, what Tillerson prescribes will mean anything other than prolonged instability and confrontation in Syria.

US-backed Kurdish forces on Monday pleaded with Washington to halt a Turkish offensive against them as it prepared to send reinforcements to the region. Part of this may be rooted in history: the United States was accused of abandoning the Iraqi Kurds back in the '90s, and don't want to duck out again.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Monday accused the U.S. of stoking separatist ambitions among Syria's Kurds and invited Kurdish representatives to an upcoming Moscow-led Syrian peace initiative in Sochi.

"We are here to protect our country's rights within the scope of worldwide law, without harming civilians or property", said Chief of General Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar inspecting troops in the southern province of Hatay's Serinyol district, with the land, navy and air force commanders. Akar said Turkey's operations took place within a "legal defensive framework".