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Syria war: Pro-government forces enter Kurdish-held Afrin

February 20, 2018 4:09 pm

Syrian pro-government forces have entered the Kurdish enclave of Afrin, provoking an immediate response from Turkish forces besieging the area.

The government was asked for military help by a Kurdish militia that has been trying to repel an offensive by Turkish troops and allied Syrian rebels.

Fighters were seen passing through a checkpoint in armoured vehicles.

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Turkish troops then shelled the area and Turkey said it had forced the pro-government fighters to retreat.

Turkey had threatened to confront government forces if they intervened, raising the prospect of direct conflict between two of the main players in Syria’s civil war.

The development comes as:

Syrian government warplanes continued to bombard the besieged rebel-held Eastern Ghouta region outside Damascus, reportedly killing dozens of civilians a day after strikes left more than 120 dead
The government’s ally Russia acknowledged that dozens of its citizens were killed or wounded in a recent armed clash in Syria – an apparent reference to a confrontation this month with US-backed forces in Deir al-Zour

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