Turkey besieges Afrin, ready to enter the Syrian city ‘at any moment’

World Today

Civilans fleeing Afrin after Turkey said its army and allied rebels surrounded the Kurdish city in northern Syria, pass through az-Ziyarah in the government-controlled part of the northern Aleppo province as they head to seek refuge in the town of Nubol, 26 kms northwest of Aleppo city, on March 13, 2018. Hundreds of civilians have been fleeing Syria’s Kurdish-majority city of Afrin this week, as Turkey-led rebels have advanced to the outskirts of Afrin city since launching an assault on the wider Kurdish enclave of the same name on January 20. (AFP PHOTO / GEORGE OURFALIAN)

Turkish forces have besieged the northern Syrian city of Afrin as part of ‘Operation Olive Branch.’ Turkey’s president said they’re ready to enter ‘at any moment.’

Meanwhile, the Turkish foreign minister is holding talks with Russian officials in Moscow.

CGTN’s Michal Bardavid reports.
Follow Michal Bardavid on Twitter @michal_bardavid

Local reports tell of civilians trying to flee the city of Afrin as Turkey’s ‘Olive Branch’ military operation progressed towards the city.

On Tuesday, drone footage released by the Turkish army seemed to show civilians who were trying to leave were stopped by men believed to be militants from the People’s Protection Units (YPG), who blocked the road.

Turkey says it has now besieged the town of Afrin and is ready to enter the city ‘at any moment’. The Deputy Prime Minister said Turkey now controls more than half of the area.

Turkey has accused the YPG of using civilians as human shields, and the country’s military said over 3,300 terrorists have been ‘neutralized’ (meaning killed, injured, or captured) since the operation began, while 42 Turkish soldiers have been killed since the operation began in January.

Meanwhile, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu is in Moscow holding talks with Russian officials. He’s expected to hold a press conference with his counterpart, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, on Wednesday.

Cavusoglu was quoted as saying that Turkey and the U.S. will oversee the withdrawl of YPG militants from Syria’s Manbij city, though Syrian Kurdish officials deny the claim.

It’s a major issue of conflict for Turkey and the U.S. that is expected to be discussed between the two countries later this month.