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Turkey's Afrin operation: The latest updates

29 January 2018

Turkey announced that it had launched "Operation Olive Branch" on January 20 to clear Syria's Afrin region of the YPG/PKK and Daesh, which Turkey considers to be a threat to its national security. TRT World has the latest updates on the operation.

Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch at 14:00 GMT on January 20 to clear Syria's Afrin region of the YPG/PKK, after months of warnings on the issue.

The operation started days after the US announced the formation of a 30,000-strong "Border Security Force" composed of YPG/SDF militants near Turkey's border in northern Syria.

The announcement was met with alarm by Ankara, which considers the YPG to be the Syrian branch of the PKK, which is a designated terrorist organisation in Turkey, the US and the EU.

Turkey's biggest security concern is the YPG carving out an autonomous territory near its southeastern border.

The US supports the SDF, a YPG-dominated group it founded in 2015, in northeast Syria. Afrin, on the northwest, has no such support from the US but a couple hundred of Russian soldiers are based in the region.

TRT World has the latest on the operation:

January 29:

Day ten of Turkey's Operation Olive Branch in Afrin

07:40 GMT:

Turkish Armed Forces said 597 terrorists have been killed during Operation Olive Branch in Afrin region.

07:30 GMT:

Turkey's Interior Ministry statement said 311 suspects arrested so far for making terror propaganda on social media regarding Afrin operation.

January 28:

Day nine of Turkey's Operation Olive Branch in Afrin

17:20 GMT:

Turkish Armed Forces said on Sunday that 557 terrorists have been 'neutralised' as part of ongoing Operation Olive Branch in Syria.

14:50 GMT:

Turkish Armed Forces and the Free Syrian Army (FSA) took full control of the Qestel Cindo village, located in south of Mount Bursaya, according to the FSA sources.

11:38 GMT:

Turkish forces and FSA fighters have captured the strategic Bursaya mountain in Syria's Afrin region, Anadolu Agency reported on Sunday.

The mountain was used by YPG/PKK terrorists to launch rockets into Turkey's border town of Kilis.

11:32 GMT:

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday that the Turkish-led Operation Olive Branch will soon capture a strategic peak in Afrin used by YPG/PKK militants to launch cross-border attacks.

"I just talked with the commander. He said, 'I hope we will soon capture Mt. Bursaya as well'," he said in remarks during a rally in the central Corum province. 

08:32 GMT:

Heavy clashes erupted on Sunday between Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) fighters and YPG/PKK terrorists at Bursaya mountain in Afrin region, Anadolu Agency reported.

The terrorist group use the mountain to target civilians in the centre of Turkey's Kilis province and Syria's Azaz district through mortar shells, artillery, and missiles.

06:00 GMT:

Turkish Armed Forces say that 484 terrorists have been "neutralised" in the on-going Operation Olive Branch so far.  

Turkish military often uses the word "neutralised" in their statements to imply that the militants in Syria's Afrin region were either captured or killed. 

The Turkish military said that five Turkish soldiers and 15 Free Syria Army (FSA) fighters have been killed so far in the Afrin campaign. 

January 27:

Day eight of Turkey's Operation Olive Branch in Afrin

17:50 GMT:

Turkish Armed Forces say in a statement that 447 terrorists have so far been 'neutralised' in the on-going Operation Olive Branch in Syria's Afrin region.

12:00 GMT:

Two civilians were injured when a rocket fired by YPG/PKK terrorists from Syria's Afrin region hit the roof of a five-story building in the Turkish border province of Kilis, Anadolu Agency reported.

08:54 GMT:

Turkish military and fighters of Free Syrian Army (FSA) have freed Ali Bekki village in northwest of Afrin from YPG/PKK terrorists, according to Anadolu Agency.

Over 10 terrorists were "neutralised" during the campaign and a camp was seized, the news agency said.

08:00 GMT:

US Security Adviser McMaster has confirmed that US will not give weapons to YPG/PKK terrorists, in a conversation with Turkish presidential spokesperson Ibrahim Kalin.

Kalin and McMaster spoke by phone on Friday evening, according to Anadolu Agency.

Both sides agreed on maintaining close coordination during Turkey's military operation in northern Syria "to prevent misunderstandings." 

07:00 GMT: 

Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) said on Saturday that 394 terrorists have been "neutralised" since the beginning of operation in Afrin region. 

TAF said that 340 YPG/PKK and Daesh targets were destroyed in the air strikes so far. 

The Turkish military said that three Turkish soldiers were also killed and 30 others injured. 

The week-long fighting also claimed lives of 13 Free Syria Army (FSA) fighters besides injuring 121 others. 

January 26:

Day seven of Turkey's Operation Olive Branch in Afrin

09:00 GMT:

President Tayyip Erdogan promised to sweep militants from the length of Turkey's Syrian border.

He said that Ankara could extend the operation in northwest Syria all the way east to the border with Iraq.

Speaking to provincial leaders from his governing AK Party, Erdogan said that after its ongoing operation in Afrin, in Syria's northwest, Turkey would continue to the east, including the town of Manbij.

07:25 GMT:

Turkey's Minister of Health Ahmet Demircan said three Turkish soldiers and 11 Turkey-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) fighters have been killed since the beginning of the operation. 

06:20 GMT:

Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) said at least 343 YPG/PKK terrorists have been killed since the beginning of operation in northwestern Afrin. 

00:45 GMT:

The Pentagon says that there was no crisis between Turkey and the US amid the Turkish Operation Olive Branch in Afrin, Syria.

"We're not in a crisis, Turkey is an ally, and we're going to work with them," the Pentagon's chief spokesperson Dana White told reporters.

"But this current -- this current issue, […], is a distraction. And we have to focus as allies and -- on the mission at hand, and that's defeating ISIS," said White using a different acronym for terrorist group Daesh.

January 25:

Day six of Turkey's Operation Olive Branch in Afrin

22:30 GMT:

US State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert on Thursday answering a reporters question regarding Turkey's operation in Afrin said, " Turkey has taken eyes off ISIS (Daesh) and is going after PKK."

Turkey considers PYD/YPG as the Syrian offshoot of the PKK terror organisation.

18:30 GMT:

At least 306 PKK/KCK/PYD-YPG and Daesh terrorists have been neutralized since the beginning of the Operation Olive Branch in northwestern Syria, the military said Thursday.

14 aircraft taking part in the operation returned to their bases after hitting 25 terrorist targets, the statement added.

18:00 GMT:

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited a military command centre in southern Hatay province on Thursday as the ongoing operation in northern Syria entered its sixth day, according to a presidential source. 

17:15 GMT:

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Thursday said that it would not be right for Turkey and the United States to discuss a potential "safe zone" in Syria until trust issues between the two NATO allies are resolved.

10:45 GMT:

Two rockets fired Thursday evening by PYD terrorists in northwestern Syria's Afrin hit an open area in Reyhanlı in Turkey's southern Hatay province near the border.

No casualties reported. 

09:00 GMT:

US-backed YPG terror group pleads to Assad regime to counter Turkey's Operation Olive Branch Operation.

"We call on the Syrian state to undertake its sovereign obligations and protect its borders with Turkey from the attacks," the terrorist group said according to Edward Dark, an Al-Monitor contributor in Aleppo.

January 24:

Day five of Turkey's Operation Olive Branch in Afrin

21:15 GMT:

President Erdogan and Qatar Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani discussed in a phone conversation Turkish military operation in Afrin, according to a presidential source.

Al-Thani said Qatar supported Turkey's fight against terrorism.

The two leaders also reaffirmed their commitment to developing bilateral relations.

20:30 GMT:

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and US President Donald Trump discussed the ongoing Turkish military operation in Afrin, Syria in a phone conversation.

Erdogan and Trump exchanged views on the latest developments in Syria and Operation Olive Branch launched by Turkey on Saturday which is aimed at fighting off threats from PYD/PKK and Daesh terrorist organisations, according to presidential sources.

President Erdogan also reiterated Ankara's request from Washington to stop providing arms to the PYD/YPG terrorists in Syria.

15:10 GMT:

At least two civilians were killed and eleven others were injured when two rockets fired from Syria's Afrin by YPG/PKK terrorists hit a mosque and a house in the Turkish border province of Kilis, according to the provincial governor's website.

14:45 GMT:

The Turkish General Staff says at least 287 PKK/KCK/PYD-YPG and Daesh terrorists have been neutralized since the beginning of the Operation Olive Branch in Syria.

14:10 GMT:

Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said that Rex Tillerson has proposed to create a 30km "secure zone" in Syria's Afrin to secure Turkey's border area, Anadolu Agency reported.

13.15 GMT:

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov discussed military operations in northern Syria with his American counterpart Rex Tillerson, Reuters reported.

11.29 GMT:

Turkish premier Binali Yildirim says 214 targets were hit and destroyed as part of Operation Olive Branch in Syria's Afrin region.

9.30 GMT:

Turkey's president Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Turkey will proceed with the operation until the last member of the YPG/PKK terrorist organisation – that has been provided with 50,00 trucks and 2,000 planes loaded with weapons by the US – is neutralised.

Erdogan also added that "the main aim of these operations is to send 3.5 million Syrian refugees back to their homes."

During the operation, three Turkish soldiers and at least seven FSA members have died, Erdogan said.

8.55 GMT:

Successes in Operation Olive Branch will avert possible risks to Turkey's economy, said Finance Minister Naci Agbal.

8.40 GMT:

US, British and German volunteers who have fought Daesh with YPG in Syria are in the Afrin region to wage battle against Turkey, an official with the YPG/PKK said.

"There was a desire on the part of the foreign fighters, who fought in Raqqa and who are fighting in Deir Ezzor, to go to Afrin," senior YPG/PKK member Redur Xelil told Reuters.

8.00 GMT:

Turkish authorities detained 150 suspects for allegedly conducting terror propaganda through various social media accounts against the Turkish state and Operation Olive Branch in Syria's Afrin region, Anadolu Agency said.

An anti-terror operation was conducted in 31 cities across Turkey and 11 suspects were arrested. Three of the suspects were released under bail conditions, seven were freed and another 132 remain under investigation.

6.20 GMT:

Eight terrorists belonging to the YPG/PKK were neutralised in Syria's Afrin region, the Turkish Armed Forces announced.

According to the statement, armed terrorists attempted to infiltrate and defeat Turkey's Operation Olive Branch.

3.00 GMT:

Turkey would like to see the US cease their support for "a group that has been targeting Turkey for 30 years," says Turkish Presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin.

Speaking to CNN International, Kalin said that arming Turkey's enemies such as the PKK/YPG is the greatest issue straining relations between the two NATO allies.

1.00 GMT:

Turkey arrests Daesh's so-called emir of health, Kefah Basheer Hussain, along with 12 other terrorists which two of them were on high-level warrant list, Anadolu Agency reports according to security sources.

Hussain said at the court that Daesh and the YPG/PKK conducted a ceasefire four months ago and they passed to Deir Ezzor under their trust.

January 23:

Day four of Turkey's Operation Olive Branch in Afrin

20:00 GMT:

Turkey's Chief of General Staff: At least 260 terrorists belonging to the PKK/KCK/YPG and Daesh were neutralised during the Operation Olive Branch in Syria's Afrin.

18:30 GMT:

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks to his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin over the phone about latest developments in Syria and the Operation Olive Branch in Afrin region.

17:40 GMT:

Dutch Foreign Minister Halbe Zijlstra says Turkey has sufficient reasons to defend itself. "YPG is not innocent. The Dutch government never supported the YPG."

17:30 GMT:

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan tells his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron over the phone that all measures have been taken to prevent civilian casualties during Operation Olive Branch in Syria's Afrin region.

17:15 GMT:

Turkey's governing (AK) party spokesman said that some Daesh members are shaving their beards and joining the fight against Turkey alongside the YPG.

"We know [from the Daesh-YPG deal] that many Daesh members have left Raqqa, and we know that they've shaved their beards and are fighting against Turkey at the forefront of the YPG/PKK," Mahir Unal said.

17:00 GMT:

Pentagon says the YPG militants in northeast Syria will lose US support if they move into Syria's Afrin region.

16:30 GMT:

Third Turkish soldier, Mehmet Muratdagi, has died during Turkey's Operation Olive Branch in Syria's Afrin.

Muratdagi was critically injured during clashes with YPG/PKK terrorists and rushed to the hospital where despite all efforts by the doctors he succumbed to his injuries.

16:15 GMT:

Turkish FM Mevlut Cavusoglu says President Erdogan will speak to US President Trump on Wednesday.

12.30 GMT:

Turkey's main purpose in Operation Olive Branch is to secure country's borders from terrorists, said presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin following a security summit in Presidential Complex in Ankara.

"Our sensitivity of separating civilians from the terrorists [in this operation] is at the highest level as in any other operation," Kalin said in a statement.

"Operation Olive Branch is being conducted only against terror groups, not against an ethnic group," he added.

11:23 GMT:

A second Turkish soldier, Oguz Kaan Usta, has died during clashes in Operation Olive Branch against the YPG/PKK and Daesh in Syria's Afrin region.

Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu announced the death on his personal Twitter account, noting that Turkey would not retreat in the fight against terrorism.

11.34 GMT:

Free Syrian Army, backed by Turkish Armed Forces, captures El Hammam village in Syria's Afrin region – Anadolu Agency reports

11.10 GMT:

The YPG calls for civilians to defend Syria's Afrin region against the Turkish operation to clear terrorists from the region, Reuters reported.

"We call on all our people to defend Afrin and its pride, and contribute in all the related activities," it said in a statement without elaborating.

The YPG reportedly forced some youth in the Syrian city to take up arms and dig trenches in their homes, according to Anadolu Agency.

10.30 GMT:

US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis called on Turkey to show "restraint" in its offensive against YPG/PKK militants in Syria.

"The violence in Afrin disrupts what was a relatively stable area in Syria and distracts from the international effort to defeat ISIS [Daesh]," Mattis said during a tour of Asia, referring to the militia's enclave in northern Syria.

January 22:

Day three of Turkey's Operation Olive Branch in Afrin

22.00 GMT

The UN Security Council discussed Turkey's anti-YPG offensive and the situation in Syria and refrained from condemning or demanding an end to the Afrin operation.

21.45 GMT

President Erdogan receives information via video conference from commanders of General Staff, Land Forces in region for Operation Olive Branch.

20.30 GMT

A delegation headed by Deputy Undersecretary of the US State Department, Jonathan Cohen, arrived in the capital Ankara to discuss the situation in Syria and active cooperation between the NATO allies, diplomatic sources say.

20.05 GMT:

A statement by the Turkish Armed Forces says a Turkish soldier has died during clashes in Gulbaba village southeast of Kilis province, during the Operation Olive Branch against YPG/PKK and Daesh.

17.40 GMT:

Turkey Presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin responded to EU's Mogherini "extremely worried" comments, saying that they were hypocritical.

"Turkey fights all types of terrorist groups including Daesh, the PKK and FETO. When the PKK/PYD/YPG is at stake, some express their 'concerns' and lecture us using the refrain of 'anti-war' - but this is frankly a double-standard and hypocritical. It will never alter Turkey's course."

16.36 GMT:

Turkey's Deputy PM Bekir Bozdag responded to US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's offer to work with Ankara, saying that Washington need to stop providing weapons to YPG and collect arms that have already been distributed.

Asked whether Ankara would give any guarantees to Russia as to the operation, Bozdag said Turkey declined to do so for Russia or any other country.

"Operation Olive Branch is limited to Afrin," he added.

12.45 GMT:

The European Union's diplomatic chief Federica Mogherini said Monday she was "extremely worried" by Turkey's Afrin operation.

She also said that they "will discuss this among other things with our Turkish interlocutors."

12.20 GMT:

The YPG has released Daesh prisoners on the condition of fighting against the Turkish army and the Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) in Afrin, Anadolu Agency reported. 

The report came less than an hour after the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which is dominated by the YPG, said it was studying the possibility of sending reinforcements to the Afrin region. 

12.00 GMT:

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said that no Turkish military casualties have been reported from the ground since the operation started three days ago.

11.15 GMT:

The Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) expanded its operation to the town of Azaz to the east of Afrin in the province of Aleppo, Anadolu Agency reported on Monday. 

Turkish artillery continue to shell YPG positions in Afrin in the third day of Operation Olive Branch which aims to clear the area of terror elements. 

Turkish military sources said that eleven villages have been taken from the YPG since the operation started three days ago.

10.55 GMT:

Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) capture strategic Bursaya mountain in northern Syria's Afrin. The YPG/PKK have used the mountain previously to launch mortar shells and missiles into Kilis in Turkey and Azaz in Syria, Anadolu Agency reports.

09.50 GMT:

The US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Washington is concerned about the Turkish incident in northern Syria and is asking both sides to show restraint, Reuters reported.

"We recognize and fully appreciate Turkey's legitimate right to protect its own citizens from terrorist elements," he added.

Tillerson also said that they can work with Turkey in the region.

January 21: 

Day two of Turkey's Operation Olive Branch in Afrin 

21.55 GMT:

US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Ankara gave Washington advance warning before launching the operation and Turkey has "legitimate" security concerns in northern Syria.

"Turkey was candid. They warned us before they launched the aircraft they were going to do it in consultation with us, and we are working now on the way ahead through the ministry of foreign affairs," Mattis said.

18:00 GMT:

Turkish Chief of General Staff Hulusi Akar says that they are taking all precautions to prevent civilian deaths.

17.41 GMT:

The Turkish army says it has destroyed two YPG/PKK positions in northwestern Syria, which were used to carry out rocket attacks in southern Turkey that targeted civilians.

16.45 GMT:

Nine villages in the north of Afrin are cleared of YPG/PKK by the Turkish army and the FSA.

15:30 GMT:

Another rocket hits a four-storey apartment building in Turkey's Reyhanli border town. 

15:29 GMT:

US State Department releases a statement saying "The United States is very concerned about the situation in northwest Syria, especially the plight of innocent civilians who are now faced with an escalation in fighting. We continue to be supportive of addressing the legitimate security concerns of Turkey as a NATO Ally and critical partner in the effort to defeat ISIS. However, we urge Turkey to exercise restraint and ensure that its military operations remain limited in scope and duration and scrupulous to avoid civilian casualties."

15:15 GMT:

Presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin told TRT World that Turkey asked the US why they continued to provide weapons and training to the YPG even after the fight against Daesh was almost over, and they received no response. 

"The investment that the US administration is putting on the YPG is going to endanger Syria's future territorial integrity. We're taking this action with self interest as well as for the benefit of the Syrian people. We are not interested in Syria's territory."

14:00 GMT:

Diplomatic chiefs of Iraq, Jordan, Qatar and Kuwait arrive at the Turkish Foreign Ministry to discuss the Afrin operation. 

13:55 GMT:

Turkish Foreign Minister Cavusoglu says anyone who opposes Turkey's Afrin operation will have taken the side of terrorists and that Ankara expects France to support Turkey.

13:50 GMT:

One Syrian national killed, 37 wounded in Reyhanli, a town on Turkey's Syria border, mayor of Reyhanli says, after a missile strike from the YPG-held territory of Syria's Afrin.

13:30 GMT:

EU Delegation representative Christian Berger arrives at Turkish Foreign Ministry to discuss the Afrin operation.

13:30 GMT:

The Turkish Armed Forces announced that the Turkish Air Forces have destroyed 45 targets that were identified as shelters, ammunition depots used by the YPG during Operation Olive Branch. The 32 fighter jets that participated in the operation returned to their bases to prepare for the next one.

13:10 GMT:

Turkish Chief of General Staff Hulusi Akar speaks on the phone with his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Bagheri. 

12:30 GMT: 

Saudi Arabian diplomatic chief arrives at Turkish Foreign Ministry to discuss the Afrin operation. 

11:30 GMT:

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday said that the ongoing operation in Syria's Afrin will be completed "in very short time".

Addressing a massive crowd in western city of Bursa during governing Justice and Development (AK) Party's Women Branch congress, Erdogan said "hopefully, we will complete this operation in a very short time."

11:00 GMT:

The media office of the Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army said the group managed to capture Shingal village in Afrin region on Sunday from YPG. 

The Syrian village is located in the north of Afrin town and near the Turkish border.

The village is considered the first to be captured since the Turkey-backed operation in Afrin began on Saturday.

10:00 GMT:

Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says YPG/PKK and Turkish forces clash on the northern and western edges of Afrin.

09.45 GMT:

Talking to Anadolu Agency about the Turkish border mission in Afrin a NATO official said that every country has the right to defend itself.

"It is important that this is done in a proportional and meticulous manner," the official said.

The official also added that Turkey has informed the alliance about the operation.

09:30 GMT:

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim announces that the operation will be conducted in four phases, and said that Turkey will create a safe zone about 30 km deep.
He also said that Turkey spoke with the Syrian regime through Russia, and said that they were working to eliminate Iran's concerns. He also said that Russia did not have objections to the operation.
Yildirim also said that region currently had about 8 to ten thousand terrorists

09:10 GMT:

Turkish forces join Free Syrian Army fighters in a comprehensive ground operation against YPG/PKK in Syria's Afrin.

09:03 GMT:

Turkish warplanes and artillery have hit 153 targets in Syria's Afrin, the Turkish General Staff said in a statement.

"So far, 153 targets, which were used as shelters, hideouts and ammunition depots by terrorist organisations PKK/KCK/PYD-YPG and Daesh, have been targeted." 

08:45 GMT:

Turkish Foreign Minister Cavusoglu holds a phonecall with his French counterpart, Jean-Yves Le Drian. Later the French foreign ministry said France called for a United Nations Security Council emergency meeting over the situation in Syria. The Council will meet on Monday.

05:36 GMT:

Free Syrian Army launches an operation in Syria's YPG/PKK-occupied Afrin.

03:16 GMT:

Regime forces helped YPG/PKK in Aleppo to send arms to the northwestern city of Afrin where Turkey is running an operation, Anadolu Agency reports.

Quoting local sources on the ground, the semi-official agency says the regime paved the way for the use of roads through YPG/PKK-held Sheikh Maqsoud neighbourhood to deliver reinforcements, connecting the centre of Aleppo to Afrin.

00:25 GMT:

Rockets fired from Syria hit Turkey's Kilis city early Sunday.

The rockets struck the city centre at around 22:40 GMT, according to the governor. At least one person has been injured. 

January 20: 

Turkey's Afrin operation, "Operation Olive Branch" begins 

22:40 GMT:

Three rockets launched from Syrian soil hit two houses and a workplace in the Ekrem Cetin neighbourhood of Turkey's Kilis province. No casualties reported.

20:00 GMT: 

Turkish tanks enter Syria through Kilis. 

19:10 GMT: 

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu tells TRT World that the objective of the Afrin operation is to ensure Turkey's border security, eradicate terrorism in the area, and protect civilians from terrorists in the region.

18:50 GMT:

Turkish Prime Minister Binanli Yildirim announces that Turkey may start a ground offensive in Afrin the next day based on developments on the ground. 

18: 45 GMT

The Pentagon spokesperson responds to the operation, saying the US "encourage[s] all parties to avoid escalation and to focus on the most important task of defeating ISIS (Daesh)."

"We understand Turkey's security concerns about PKK, which is designated as a foreign terrorist organisation by the US."

"The US does not support the PKK in any way."

18:25 GMT: 

About an hour later its foreign ministry's statement, Russian Ministry of Defence blames the Afrin operation on the Pentagon in a statement, saying that it took "provocative steps" by providing modern arms to the US-backed groups in Syria.
The statement added that the United States' irresponsible behavior in Syria threatened the peace process in the country as well as the Geneva process.

17:37 GMT:

The Turkish Armed Forces announce that all 72 fighter jets took part in the operation have returned to their bases in Turkey to prepare for their next mission. 

16:47 GMT: 

The Turkish Foreign Ministry announces that they have also invited the chiefs of diplomatic missions of China, France and the UK, the other members of the United Nations Security Council, to talk about the Afrin operation.

16:00 GMT: 

Turkish Foreign Minister Cavusoglu speaks with his American counterpart Rex Tillerson and the phone, and says that he wants the US' support. "Those who don't support us should not stand in our way," he later said in an interview to a Turkish TV channel.

15:45 GMT:

Russian Defense Ministry says Russian troops in Afrin relocated to Tel Rifat for safety.

15:43 GMT: 

The Turkish Foreign Ministry announces that they invited Russian, Iranian and the US diplomatic mission chiefs in Ankara to inform them about the Afrin operation.

15:40 GMT: 

Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Jaber Ansari says that any ground operation in Syria may affect the Syrian National Dialogue Congress due to take place in Sochi at the end of the month in a "positive or negative manner."

"We hope that the ceasefire guarantors in Syria (Russia, Turkey and Iran) will take action to avoid this."

15:30 GMT: 

The Turkish Armed Forces announces 108 out of 113 YPG/PKK targets it had identified had been successfully hit. 

15:03 GMT: 

The Russian Foreign Ministry releases a statement in response to the start of Turkey's Afrin operation, saying they received the launch of the operation in Afrin "with concern."

"We are closely monitoring the development of the situation." 

15:00 GMT: 

Anadolu Agency reports that the Free Syrian Army troops entered YPG-held regions via Azez. 

14:35 GMT:

The Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) releases a statement saying that the TSK has launched "Operation Olive Branch" in Afrin to clear the PKK/YPG from Afrin. 

14:25 GMT: 

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says that the operation has begun.

14:15 GMT: 

Turkey's Prime Minister Binali Yildirim confirms that the operation has started.

14:00 GMT

Turkish jets start bombing YPG and Daesh targets in Afrin.

January 19

Anadolu Agency reports that Russia started withdrawing its military assets in northeast Kafr Jana region of Afrin city, ahead of Turkey's expected operation in Syria's northwestern city of Afrin. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov denied that the Russian troops were withdrawing.


CNN quoted US officials as saying that US troops have continued overt patrols near Manbij. 


Turkey's Defence Minister Nurettin Canikli says in an interview with a Turkish news channel that Russia's co-operation with Turkey on any moves in Afrin is important:

"The decisions and stances of the countries which have an influence on the ground in Syria is of course very crucial for our operation. For us to be more successful, our policies with those countries should be consistent... Our talks with Russia will continue."

January 18

Turkey's Chief of General Staff General Hulusi Akar and Hakan Fidan, head of Turkey's National Intelligence Organization (MIT) fly to Moscow to meet with Russian Chief of Staff Valery Gerasimov to discuss details of the Afrin operation. 


Turkish shelling of Afrin continues. 

January 17

Contradicting the US' earlier statements, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson denies that the US had any intention of building a Syria-Turkey border force, saying the issue, which has incensed Ankara, had been "misportrayed."

The next day, US Department of Defense gives a statement about the "Border Security Force" without making reference to the SDF. 

"The US continues to train local security forces in Syria. The training is designed to enhance security for displaced persons returning to their devastated communities," it read. "It is also essential so that ISIS (Daesh) cannot reemerge in liberated and ungoverned areas. This is not a new 'army' or conventional 'border guard' force."

Later that day, Pentagon spokesman Eric Pahon gave another statement to Anadolu Agency about the role of the militants.

"I do not want to characterise as a police force, but it is a kind of security and stability force or some sort of area control force," he said.

January 15

Turkey's President Erdogan responds to the US' announcement about the formation of 30,000-strong YPG army on its border with Syria, and says it will be dealt with and that Turkey's armed forces were ready to start operations.

"The US has admitted to forming a terrorist army along the Turkish border," he said, vowing that Turkey would kill that army before it was born.

"The US created a terror organisation with 30,000 people and has provided them with 4,800 truckloads of arms as of now."


Turkey starts shelling Afrin in retaliation to attacks from the YPG. 

January 14 

The US-led coalition announces that it is working with the YPG/SDF militants to set up a new "Border Security Force" of 30,000 personnel, deployed at the borders of the area controlled by the YPG/SDF. 

January 13

Turkey's President Erdogan says during a speech in Turkey's Elazig province that it would be less than a week before the Afrin operation started.

"It won't be a week before they see how we destroy them [the YPG]"

January 9 

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says Turkey will resume its military operation in Syria's Afrin and Manbij regions to breach YPG-controlled areas and secure its borders against terror groups.

"Now, it is the time to completely destroy the plan of the separatist terror group to establish a terror corridor in Syria. We will continue Operation Euphrates Shield in Afrin and Manbij. We will complete this process by bringing peace and security on all of our borders," he said.

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