Until the most recent military intervention by Turkey, Afrin had been relatively calm during the Syrian civil war, as local government and militias started their own political project and defense strategies against other insurgent and Islamist groups, becoming a safe spot for Syrians fleeing from other regions. It is part of the wider territory known as Rojava, held by Kurds and their allies.
Over the last 48 hours, Afrin city has reportedly been targeted by Turkish air strikes, the water has been cut off, and the internet severed.
"We will not give Afrin to Erdoğan even if we are subjected to airstrikes for months or years", said Fikriye Reşid, and 58-year-old woman who came from Qamishlo to Afrin to be a human shield. Erdogan said in remarks to supporters in Bolu, a city east of Istanbul.
Turkey's military launched a cross-border operation to drive out the Syrian Kurdish militia from the northern enclave of Afrin in January.
Erdogan questioned why North Atlantic Treaty Organisation had not come to Turkey's aid in its Syria operation when Ankara had backed critical alliance campaigns worldwide. Unfortunately, until now, there has not been a positive word or voice.
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So far, civil society organizations and local communities have provided the returnees with enough food for a month, Hla Tun Kyaw said.
Turkey has been waging "Operation Olive Branch" against Syria's Afrin region since January 20 in a bid to eliminate the YPG, which forms the backbone of the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) that enjoys USA support. Because of possible links with the PKK, Turkey has categorized Syria's Kurdhish militia as a "terrorist organization" and vows to act accordingly against it.
Turkey's objective has put it in direct contrast to U.S.'s objective of building a force to stabilize the region.
"In fact, they would openly oppose Turkey in Syria if they could".
Later, the base became an important military zone for the YPG/PKK terrorists. The YPG has been an important ally for the United States in the fight against Islamic State.
"Once we have purged the terrorists (from Afrin) we will then cleanse them from Manbij, Ayn al-Arab, Tel-Abyad, Ras al-Ayn and Qamishli", he said in televised comments.