Turkey Opens Fire on Regime Forces In Afrin

Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army fighter uses a TOW anti-tank missile north of the city of Afrin Syria

The second batch reached Afrin, 24 hours after the first batch entered Afrin, and deployed on the points and centers "to help supporting the people defending their villages and homes" against the Turkish attack.

The Turkish government claims that the YPG is an offshoot of the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK), which has mounted a rebellion against the state in mainly Kurdish southeastern Turkey for more than 30 years. "This could not have happened without Russia's consent".

The arrival of pro-Syrian regime forces to the Kurdish Afrin area constituted on Tuesday an important development that adds to the existing conflict in Syria.

Lavrov's statement came amid unconfirmed reports that the Syrian regime and the Syrian Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) agreed that the latter would leave Afrin city center to the control of the Syrian army.

Images were aired of "popular forces" loyal to President Bashar Assad moving toward Afrin city in pick-up trucks equipped with anti-aircraft guns and armoured personals carriers (APCs), Efe reported.

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Why is the Syrian government intervening?

Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency denied that Syrian pro-government forces had entered Afrin.

Kalin said that presently there are no direct diplomatic contacts between Ankara and Damascus.

Ankara says it is determined to carry on its operation whatever happens.

Later, President Tayyip Erdogan's spokesman warned that if pro-Syrian government forces entering the northwest Afrin region to support a Kurdish militia there will face "serious consequences" and they will be regarded as legitimate targets. The pro-Assad commander said Russian Federation had intervened to "delay the entry" of Syrian army troops, and so allied "popular forces" with heavy weaponry went instead. "Moscow holds numerous cards and has, on balance, been playing them well". But many argue Turkey would need Russia's backing in order to avoid confronting Syrian troops along with the YPG.

The Turkish lira plunged against the dollar as investors balked at the prospect of a military confrontation. Erdogan's government maintains its offensive is aimed exclusively at expelling YPG militants and that its troops will withdraw once the operation achieves its goals.

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