German-Kurdish immigrants protest Turkish operation in Syria

Turkish Presidential Spokesman Ibrahim Kalin meets Bosniak Member of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina Bakir Izetbegovic in Sarajevo Bosnia and Herzegovina

Turkey's Operation Olive Branch in Afrin is more than just about expelling Kurdish militias, which Ankara deems as "terrorist", from its borders with Syria.

Turkey launched its operation "Olive Branch" on January 20 against the Syrian Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) militia, supporting Syrian opposition fighters with ground troops and air strikes.

The Turkish military launched a military operation in Syria targeting Kurdish militias in the enclave of Afrin last week.

Turkey considers the YPG to be a "terrorist" group as well as the Syrian offshoot of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) which has waged a bloody three-decade insurgency against the Turkish state. Further raising the stakes, Ankara has also floated an operation on Manbij, a YPG-held town to the east where there is a U.S. military presence, and even to areas east of the Euphrates up to the Iraqi border. He said he intends to push the operation to the city of Manbij and then as far east as the Iraqi border "until no terrorist is left".

Erdogan took a shot at US foreign policy, appearing to call the country hypocritical for telling Turkey to keep its operation short.

The dispute over the contents of the telephone call is exacerbating a lack of trust between the two North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies.

He said it risked worsening the humanitarian crisis in Syria and that the renewed violence in the Afrin region could be exploited by IS, though he added that the USA "understood" Turkey's security concerns. "Until trust is instilled again, it is not right for these issues to be discussed", Çavuşoğlu said, according to Daily Sabah.

Syria's main opposition negotiating body said Saturday it will boycott a peace conference in Russian Federation next week, saying it would not lead to a genuine peace track that could end the country's seven-year war. "Almost 18 years!" he thundered.

More broadly, the Afrin operation reflects the weakness of all democratic and progressive actors in Syria in the face of the Assad regime and its allies destruction of the Syrian revolution, and the consequent renewed power of this regime which has received acceptance by all worldwide actors.

"We clearly told our friends and allies they should not support YPG", he said while in Brussels on Thursday. That's why a recent USA proposal of establishing a security zone along the Turkish-Syrian border will not work at this stage.

The US State Department calls on Turkey to "exercise restraint".

Damascus regards Ankara as its mortal enemy, and when the Afrin Operation began Al-Assad described it as part of "the policy the Turkish regime had adopted since the first day of the Syrian crisis and that is built on its support for terrorism and terrorist organisations".

The SDF is an umbrella grouping composed mainly of YPG.

The Observatory has said 38 civilians have been killed mainly as a result of Turkish shelling but Ankara strongly rejects such claims, saying it is doing everything possible to avoid civilian casualties.

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