Following the deployment of syrian government forces to the kurdish-controlled afrin region in the north of the country, turkey has bombed the area, according to syrian government sources. This was reported by the syrian state news agency sana on tuesday.
An explosion was seen on the government-affiliated TV station al-mayadeen. It was a turkish attack, the station reported.
Turkey’s state-run anadolu news agency reported artillery fire in the region on tuesday. Warning shots had been fired at "terrorist groups" linked to the syrian regime, it hailed. The kurds had tried to enter the city of afrin, but had retreated due to the shelling.
Shortly before, the first syrian government forces had entered afrin, as the kurdish militia YPG confirmed. The units should participate in defending the unity of syria and the country’s borders. The kurds want to stop an attack by turkey.
Turkic troops and syrian allies had begun an offensive on afrin a month ago. The area is controlled by the YPG. Turkey sees the militia as the syrian offshoot of the outlawed kurdish workers’ party (PKK) and is fighting it.
On monday, turkish auben minister mevlut cavusoglu warned syria: "if the regime enters to protect the YPG or to ensure its protection, then no one can stop us, turkey and the turkish soldiers," he said in jordan.
The syrian observatory for human rights reported that the invading government forces are a vanguard. Heavy weapons were not among them for the time being. According to syrian sources, the government troops are "popular forces".
The kurds had been negotiating with the syrian government for a week about the deployment of troops. On tuesday morning they had accused russia of putting stones in the way of an agreement and of giving turkey the green light for the attack on afrin.
Turkish president recep tayyip erdogan announced a siege of the city of afrin on tuesday. The city center will be captured "in the next few days," erdogan told his islamic conservative ruling party, the AKP, in ankara. "This is the way auben’s aid is being blocked."
With this, the "terrorist organization" YPG will no longer have the possibility to negotiate with anyone, erdogan further said. Grunen politician claudia roth sharply criticized erdogan’s announcement and called on nato and germany to use "all diplomatic means" to prevent "war crimes such as starvation by a nato member" from occurring.
The kurdish militia YPG is allied with the U.S.-led coalition in the fight against the terrorist militia islamic state (IS) in northern syria. Turkey, on the other hand, classifies the YPG as terrorist because of its close ties to the outlawed kurdish workers’ party (PKK). The PKK is also on the list of terrorist organizations in the EU and the U.S.
Russian auben minister sergei lavrov warned tuesday of a split in the civil war country and urged turkey to engage in dialogue with the syrian government. It is unacceptable if "the kurdish problem" is used to sow chaos in the region and divide states, he said in moscow, according to the interfax agency. Lavrov stressed that moscow understands both turkey’s and the kurds’ point of view.
Meanwhile, left-wing politician ulla jelpke called for an independent commission of inquiry to determine whether turkey used poison gas in the region. The alleged attack is said to have occurred on friday in the town of sheikh hadid west of the city of afrin, as observers and medical staff reported. "I expect the federal government to take appropriate steps within the framework of the united nations. Turkey is a NATO partner, and its army also fights with weapons from germany," jelpke said in a statement. The federal government, he says, therefore has a responsibility.