France calls for emergency Security Council meeting on Syria

Turkey Syria tensions

France calls for emergency Security Council meeting on Syria

The US-led coalition has set up a Kurdish-dominated "Border Security Force" in Syria.

Ahmet Berat Conkar, a ruling party MP and head of Turkish delegation to NATO Parliamentary Assembly, said: "Russia is taking steps to move its forces in Afrin away from the areas where there might be clashes [during Turkey's operation]".

The Kurdish militia, which is estimated to control as much as 25% of Syrian territory, had the backing of United States forces and has been at the forefront of anti-Isis operations in the region.

A small unit from a Turkish-backed rebel group was manning a monitoring point on a hilltop overlooking several Kurdish-controlled villages below.

An Afrin operation will follow Turkey's successful seven-month Operation Euphrates Shield in northern Syria, which ended in March 2017. Russian Federation deployed military observers to Afrin past year in an effort to prevent Turkish-Kurdish clashes.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had repeatedly vowed that Turkey would root out the "nests of terror" in Syria of the YPG, which Ankara accuses of being the Syrian offshoot of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

Since the mid-1980s, the PKK has waged a wide-ranging terror campaign against the Turkish state in which an estimated 40,000 people have been killed. "A continued crisis in Afrin may boost...terrorist groups in northern Syria", the agency quoted Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi as saying.

He said the Kurdish people in Syria face torture and oppression, not just at the hands of the Assad-regime, but also PYD/PKK.

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The state-run Anadolu Agency said Turkey-backed Syrian forces have penetrated the enclave and were advancing but did not provide details.

"Turkey is obliged to ensure safety of its citizens and borders", Canikli said.

Gov Mehmet Tekinarslan said four rockets struck the town of Kilis, hitting two houses, an office and slightly wounding one person. "Tear off the insignia you have placed on the uniforms of the terrorists so that we don't have to bury them (U.S. soldiers) together with the terrorists". "There is no need to worry", he said. It appears that Turkey is now gearing up for a major offensive on Afrin.

At the same time, France called for the immediate opening of Eastern Ghouta, "where 400,000 besieged civilians are in a critical situation, "the ministry said".

"Our direct mistrust of the United States continues".

Crucial is the attitude of Russian Federation, which has a military presence in the area and is also working with Turkey on a drive to end the civil war.

Meanwhile, the U.S. has also called on Turkey to show some restraint before pounding targets in Afrin.

Yet Afrin - which lies to the west of the main Kurdish zone of influence in Syria - may not be a prime concern of Washington which is more interested in the Kurdish-controlled areas stretching east to the Iraqi border. He believes that is why the need for Russia's backing for the Afrin operation is crucial. "When I say "de facto", I don't want it to be misunderstood".

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