Wednesday, 20 February, 2019

Turkey denies allegation of chemical attack in Syria's Afrin region

Turkish artillery fires toward Syrian Kurdish positions in Afrin area Syria from Turkish side of the border in Hatay Turkey Friday Feb. 9 2018 Kurdish Fighter Claims Turkey Using Napalm Chlorine in Afrin Operation
Melinda Barton | 19 February, 2018, 10:08

Turkey repudiated the use of chemical weapons in Syria during its military operations.

On Jan. 20, Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch to remove terrorist groups, including the PKK/PYD and Daesh, from northwestern Syria.

The military has also said that only terrorist targets are being destroyed and the "utmost care" is being taken to avoid harming any civilians.

The Syrian army and the Kurdish-led forces have reached an agreement on the army's entry into the Afrin enclave where Turkey is launching a military offensive, a report said Sunday.

The operation is being carried out under the framework of Turkey's rights within worldwide law, U.N. Security Council resolutions, its right to self-defense under the U.N. charter and respect for Syria's territorial integrity, it said.

Senior Kurdish official, Badran Jia Kurd, told Reuters that Syrian Kurdish forces and the country's government had agreed on the deployment of Syrian army troops along border positions in the Afrin region to curb the Turkish campaign, and that the military would enter the beleaguered Afrin within the next two days.

The Syrian army will enter Afrin on Monday, Sheikho Blo, a Kurdish commander, was quoted by the Rudaw Kurdish news outlet as saying. He said it caused six people to suffer breathing problems and other symptoms indicative of a gas attack.

The U.S. has been arming, training, and supporting the Syrian Democratic Forces in Syria, and the strongest element of that group is the YPG, a Kurdish group with ties to Kurds in Turkey, including the PKK.

Since the onset of the conflict in 2011, the YPG and its allies have set up three autonomous cantons in the north, including Afrin.

The U.S. makes a distinction between the YPG and the PKK, but Turkey does not and has a couple of times expressed its outrage over the American support for YPG. Their sphere of influence expanded as they seized territory from Islamic State with U.S. help, though Washington says it opposes their autonomy plans.