Turkey's president Erdogan says campaign against Kurds in Syria will continue

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Head of the Kurdish Center for Studies Nawwaf Khalil told Asharq Al-Awsat that Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party is not only antagonizing the PKK and Democratic Union Party in Syria, but it is antagonizing all Kurds. There has been a consensus between all the worldwide and regional powers on the necessity to liquidate the revolutionary popular movements initiated in Syria in March of 2011. At least 286 civilians have been killed in the crossfire in the past month alone, according to figures from the Observatory. It estimates there are around 400,000 people trapped under the government's siege.

According to the military, the operation aims to establish security and stability along Turkish borders and the region as well as protect Syrians from terrorist oppression and cruelty.

"We stand by the president's assertion of cautioning Turkey about the escalation of tensions in Afrin area", said State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert on Thursday.

In a statement, a copy of which was received by Kurdistan 24, the SDF, led by the People's Protection Units (YPG), said the Turkish army launched hundreds of artillery shells and mortars into the Kurdish-held canton in northwestern Syria since Saturday. With the exception of the HDP, the rest of the main parties in Turkey, including the fascistic National Movement Party (known as MHP) and the Kemalist Republican Peoples Party (known as CHP), support Turkeys military intervention.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan again slammed the United States for working with Syrian Kurdish YPG forces.

The USA has remained rather passive, only urging Turkey to exercise restraint and ensure that its military operations remain limited in scope and duration.

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A Syrian opposition spokesman says the opposition and government have signed a cease-fire agreement over the fighting in the suburbs of Damascus.

Turkish troops and allied Syrian fighters started operations last week against the Kurdish-held enclave of Afrin, approaching from three sides and meeting stiff resistance from the USA -allied Kurdish militia that controls the enclave.

He warned he may send military troops to target Kurds outside the Afrin region, and expand operations to the Turkey-Iraq border.

The Russian military said flags and emblems of a rebel group trained by the USA instructors in Tanf were found in the trucks along with Western-made jamming devices and propaganda leaflets of the Islamic State group.

In reality, the operation will serve to consolidate Turkish military presence in northern Syria ahead of forming a "safe zone" 30 kilometers into Syrian territory. "Turkey is attacking us under Russian cover and support, so how can we head to a conference that Ankara is attending and which has been called for by Russia?" he wondered.

Shelling was also involved in the Ghouta attack on Monday. Nine shells were documented resulting in three civilian casualties and wounding others. As a reminder, this region has been under siege by the Syrian regime and allied militias since 2013.

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