Afrin: Turkish forces 'encircle' Syrian Kurdish city

The U.S. has shifted to Afghanistan a squadron of A-10s from the Incirlik air base in Turkey where three of the jets are shown in July 2017

US moves to soothe Turkey, endangering ties with Kurdish allies

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said last Saturday that his government planned to expand the offensive against Kurdish rebels on the border areas after the army gains control of Afrin.

An armored military vehicle belonging to the Turkish army is seen near olive trees as Turkish Armed Forces and Free Syrian Army (FSA) deployed forces 1.5 kilometers from the town of Afrin, Syria on March 12, 2018. The Turkish military says it has encircled the town and that it has set up a corridor for civilians to escape the fighting.

He also said Ankara would monitor the return of weapons given to the YPG by the United States.

The Turkish offensive opened a new front in a multi-sided civil war now entering its eighth year, which has drawn in neighbours and global powers who have armed and assisted fighters on the ground.

Cavusoglu revealed that he and US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson would discuss the issue further when they meet in Washington on March 19.

Hamza Bayraqdar, the group's chief military spokesman, said in a video statement posted online that "our revolutionary ideology does not allow us to sell the blood of the holy warriors who liberated Ghouta".

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has harshly denounced the U.S. invasion and also slammed the Turkish incursion as an act of aggression. "The Turkish government is settling Turkmen and Arab families in the villages of Afrin that it occupied after forcing out its people", Redur Xelil, the head of foreign relations in the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), wrote in a message.

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The FAA Friday also promised to conduct a review of the rules governing doors-off tours for potential passenger safety issues. The FAA will order a halt to such flights that "involve restraints that can not be released quickly in an emergency".

Earlier on Tuesday, Afrin-based Kurds accused Turkey of waging an ethnic cleansing campaign against its residents.

"If they do encircle the city, we will be ready for a long fight".

The Russian news agencies reported from outside eastern Ghouta on Tuesday morning, saying 100 people have left the area including 20 women and children.

Some 400,000 people are estimated to be trapped in eastern Ghouta, which has been under a crippling blockade and heavy bombardment for weeks.

The fighting in northern Syria came as a group of sick and injured civilians were evacuated from the rebel-held Eastern Ghouta outside Damascus, which is under siege by government forces. The evacuation is the result of a deal reached on Monday between Jaish al-Islam, one of the main rebel groups in the area, and Russian Federation.

Turkey launched a military offensive into the border enclave on January 20 to drive out Syrian Kurdish forces that it considers to be "terrorists" and an extension of Kurdish rebels fighting inside Turkey.

Col. Moataz Raslan, commander of one of the Turkey-allied opposition groups, said the Kurdish fighters in Afrin should surrender or leave the area.

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