Thousands on run, hiding as Turkey keeps up Syria offensive

Tillerson'concerned by Turkey's expanding Syria offensive

The YPG played a major role in pushing ISIS out of the area with United States support and have since helped establish democracy and stability in the region.

Manbij is still a campaign Ankara has not ruled out.

It pits US ally and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation member Turkey against a Kurdish fighting force armed and trained by the United States as part of the fight to defeat ISIS in Syria. Heavy clouds have hindered air support, limiting advances, and Kurdish militia have retaken some territory. Turkish troops and the Syrian fighters have been trying to take the summit of Bursaya Hill, overlooking the eastern approach to Afrin town.

Turkish shelling and airstrikes in Afrin have killed 28 civilians, while two civilians were killed as a result of YPG shelling near Azaz, a town held by Turkish-backed opponents of President Bashar al-Assad, the monitoring group said.

Roettgen claimed Turkey can not say that it is acting in self-defense because "there have not been any attacks on Turkey by Kurdish forces in Syria".

The White House says Trump is urging the Turkish leader to limit the operation and avoid civilian casualties.

Turkish artillery on Tuesday pounded targets of the YPG inside Syria, the state-run Anadolu news agency said.

Nauert said Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had a series of "serious and frank" conversations with his Turkish counterpart Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu.

Addressing Turkish complaints that the United States has not kept to its promises to take back weapons supplied to the Syrian Kurdish fighters, the official said Washington meant to "fulfil the commitment" but would not provide a time frame. If not, our future as a country is in jeopardy tomorrow. "Nobody is very sure where we are going".

Kurdish demonstrators protest against the operation by the Turkish army in Beirut. The observatory said 43 rebel fighters fighting alongside the Turks had also been killed, as well as 38 on the Kurdish side.




The Kurdish-led administration of northeastern Syria appealed for a mass mobilisation in defence of Afrin.

Russia's official statement on the offensive said it was concerned by the news.

On Jan. 20, the Turkish Armed Forces, together with the Free Syrian Army, launched a military Operation Olive Branch in the Syrian city of Afrin.

YPG fighters form the backbone of the USA -backed SDF, despite protests by Turkey. "Kurdish people and Scottish people united against Turkish aggression against Afrin", she said.

Syria's government has made clear a Turkish invasion would be considered an act of aggression, and threatened to engage militarily with Turkey should there be any offensive, but there has no known involvement from Damascus at this time.

The United States has hoped to use the YPG's control of territory to give it the diplomatic muscle it needs to revive U.N. -led talks in Geneva on a deal that would end Syria's civil war and eventually lead to Assad's removal.

Ankara has been infuriated by the USA support for the YPG, which is one of several issues that have brought ties between Washington and its Muslim NATO ally close to breaking point. The Observatory said 43 Ankara-backed rebels and 38 Kurdish fighters had been killed in the fighting so far.

Commenting on Turkish threats to expand the offensive into the Syrian Kurdish town of Manbij, the official says Washington's "number one concern is the safety and security troops in the vicinity".

"We take seriously Turkey's legitimate security concerns and are committed to working with Turkey as a NATO Ally and a partner to defeat ISIS and other terrorist groups", Rankine-Galloway added.

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