ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday said his army would “soon lay siege” to the Kurdish enclave of Afrin in Syrian Kurdistan (Rojava) amid reports of pro-Syrian government forces advancing to the border.
“In the coming days, swiftly, we will lay siege to the center of the town of Afrin,” Erdogan said, addressing the Turkish Parliament.
The President reiterated his claim that the decision to launch the military incursion into Afrin was “to create a safe and livable area” for Syrian refugees in Turkey to return. “We did not go there to burn it down.”
Regarding the advance of pro-Syrian government troops to the Afrin region, Erdogan warned that Ankara would not accept any interference from Damascus.
“We will block the way of those who come to help from outside the city or the region,” he stated.
Kurdistan 24 correspondent Akram Salih, who has been covering developments in the Kurdish region, confirmed the arrival of Syrian government forces to Afrin on Tuesday.
Moreover, a spokesperson for the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), whom Erdogan is directing his military operation toward, said Damascus responded to the Kurdish forces’ call to defend the border.
Turkey launched its offensive in Afrin on Jan. 20 but has made little progress so far as it has witnessed a stiff resistance from the US-armed YPG forces.
However, civilians in the region continue to bear the brunt of the violence as ongoing Turkish bombardment and shelling have claimed the lives of hundreds while displacing thousands more.