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World

REUTERS
March 14, 2018

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Turkish military has encircled Syria’s Afrin town

ANKARA/BEIRUT: Turkey´s military and its rebel allies have encircled the northern Syrian town of Afrin, the Turkish armed forces said on Tuesday, a substantial advance in Turkey´s offensive against Kurdish fighters across its southern border.

Turkey launched its operation "Olive Branch" in northern Syria nearly two months ago to sweep the Syrian Kurdish YPG from the Turkish border. Turkey sees the YPG as a terrorist group and an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). 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.

The forces encircled Afrin and also captured "areas of critical importance" in the region as of Monday, the Turkish military said in a statement. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based organisation that reports on the war, said Turkish forces and their Syrian militia allies had encircled an estimated 700,000 people in Afrin.

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