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Afrin offensive: Turkey warns Syria against helping Kurds

February 19, 2018 4:24 pm

Turkey has warned the Syrian government not to help Kurds fighting against Turkish forces in northern Syria.

Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag said Turkey’s operations were going ahead as planned and it would be a “disaster” if Syrian troops were to intervene.

Syrian media had earlier said the army would help Kurds resist Turkish operations in the enclave of Afrin.

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But there has been no sign of this so far, and the Kurdish YPG militia has denied there is a deal with Damascus.

Turkey regards the Kurdish fighters, just across its border in Afrin, as terrorists. It launched a major offensive against them last month.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told Russia’s Vladimir Putin that Damascus would face “consequences” if it struck a deal with the Kurds, CNN Turk reported on Monday.

Both Mr Bozdag and Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu delivered a similar message later in the day.

“If (the Syrian army) comes in to defend the YPG, then nothing and nobody can stop Turkish soldiers,” Mr Cavusoglu told reporters in Jordan.

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