Turkish Tanks Cross Into Syria As Ground Offensive Against US-Backed Militia Begins

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Early on Sunday, Turkish ground forces crossed the border and pushed into northern Syria’s Afrin province on Sunday, Ankara said after launching artillery and air strikes on a U.S.-backed Kurdish militia it aims to sweep from its border.

Turkey sent armored divisions into northwest Syria after a day of airstrikes as part of ‘Operation Olive Branch’ which bombed Kurdish YPG forces (“People’s Protection Units”) in and around Afrin to drive the US-allied Kurdish militia from the area. Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army fighters along with Turkish troops are now moving into the area, according to state-run Anadolu news agency.

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“Our jets took off and started bombing. And now, the ground operation is underway. Now we see how the YPG … are fleeing in Afrin,” President Tayyip Erdogan said. “We will chase them. God willing, we will complete this operation very quickly.”

Quoted by Reuters, Erdogan also accused some of Turkey’s allies of providing the YPG with 2,000 plane shipments and 5,000 truckloads of ammunition; the comments were clearly aimed at the United States.READ MORE

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday described Israel as a “terrorist state” and said that it “kills children,” leading to a sharp rebuke from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“Palestine is an innocent victim… As for Israel, it is a terrorist state, yes, terrorist!” Erdogan said in a speech in the central city of Sivas, AFP reported. “We will not abandon Jerusalem to the mercy of a state that kills children.”

He spoke days after President Trump announced the U.S. would recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and ordered the State Department to start the process of moving the U.S. Embassy there from Tel Aviv.

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“I‘m not used to receiving lectures about morality from a leader who bombs Kurdish villages in his native Turkey, who jails journalists, helps Iran go around international sanctions and who helps terrorists, including in Gaza, kill innocent people,” Netanyahu said, according to Reuters.

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