Syrian Popular Forces Support Population in Afrin Enclave

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Last month, Turkey also launched a military operation in the northern Syrian district of Afrin against the US-backed Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), which is regarded by Ankara a organization affiliated with the PKK.

"Turkish regime forces targeted the locations of popular forces with artillery fire as they arrived in the Afrin region", Syria's official news agency SANA reported on Tuesday. Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency denied that Syrian pro-government forces had entered Afrin.

Shells fell near Afrin where militias allied with the Syrian government gathered on February 20 in a show of force against the Turkish offensive and to show support for Kurdish forces fighting them.

"A dozen or so pick-up trucks had come to advance toward Afrin". Unfortunately, terrorist groups like these sometimes make missteps according to their own decisions.

Tensions between Ankara and the Kurds escalated in July 2015 when a ceasefire between Turkey and the PKK collapsed over a series of terror attacks allegedly committed by the PKK members. It is not possible for us to allow this. "They would pay a heavy price for it", he added.

Syrian people " s forces are now in the Afrin enclave, in the northern province of Aleppo, where they protect the population from attacks by remnants of the Islamic State terrorist group and the invading Turkish Army. But many argue Turkey would need Russia's backing in order to avoid confronting Syrian troops along with the YPG.

Ankara says it is determined to carry on its operation whatever happens.

What else is going on in Syria?

On Monday, Erdogan talked to Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani over Turkey's ongoing operation, the fight against terrorist elements and the latest developments in Syria, particulary Afrin and Idlib.

Turkey has in recent months lent support to diplomacy by Russian Federation, whose firepower helped Assad's government seize back most major cities from rebels and militants since 2015.

Meanwhile, Russia's foreign ministry acknowledged that dozens of its citizens and people from other former Soviet states were killed or wounded in a recent battle.

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