Turkey targets Kurdish militants in northern Iraq

A young boy waits at a check point near Afrin

A young boy waits at a check point near Afrin

Turkey's president has vowed to keep up the pressure against a US-backed Syrian Kurdish militia after his troops captured the Syrian town of Afrin, threatening to expand the military offensive into other Kurdish-held areas across northern Syria and even into neighbouring Iraq.

The Syrian regime fiercely opposed the Turkish incursion and gave the green light for pro-government fighters to head to front line to try to turn back the advance.

In a written statement, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said Turkey was contributing to Syria's territorial integrity by fighting against a separatist terror group. The US State Department also called for global aid organisations to be given access to deliver humanitarian assistance in the area.

Police in Turkey have detained dozens of people for chanting slogans or unfurling banners in support of outlawed Kurdish rebels during celebrations marking the start of spring.

Turkey considers the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) in Syria and its armed-wing YPG to be "terrorist groups" with ties to the banned Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

The fight for Afrin has already had a negative impact in the SDF's fight against the last remaining pocket of ISIS fighters in eastern Syria.

Turkey's state-run news agency says Turkish jets have attacked suspected Kurdish rebel camps across the border in northern Iraq, in an operation that reportedly "neutralized" nine militants.

Director Erhan Baytimur said it was coincidence that Tuesday night's premiere fell so close to Sunday's capture of Afrin by Turkish troops.

Afrin hospital, which is considered the only hospital equipped for major operations, is reportedly overwhelmed with injured people, Ravina Shamdasani, spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) stated.

A Syrian Kurdish official told reporters more than 200,000 people who had fled the Afrin offensive were without shelter, food or water in nearby areas. The International Committee of the Red Cross on Monday called for access to those displaced to provide lifesaving aid.

Young men walk amid destruction in the Syrian Kurdish city of Afrin on March 19, 2018, a day after Turkish-led forces entered the city.

He also noted that the Turkish Red Crescent is now providing food support for between 10,000 and 20,000 residents in Eastern Ghouta every day.

In August 2016, Turkey began a unilateral military intervention in northern Syria, code-named Operation Euphrates Shield, sending tanks and warplanes across the border.

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