Turkey's military and its rebel allies have besieged the northern Syrian town of Afrin and were nearing its town centre, President Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday, in what would mark a major advance in Turkey's military operation.
"Now our objective is Afrin".
"Once we have purged the terrorists (from Afrin) we will then cleanse them from Manbij, Ayn al-Arab, Tel-Abyad, Ras al-Ayn and Qamishli", he said in televised comments.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said more than 1 million civilians face an "unknown fate" as Turkish forces neared a siege of the city.
A Syrian family of four injured in a YPG/PKK terrorist attack near Jinderes town in Syria's Afrin were brought back to their village in the region following their medical treatment at a hospital in Turkey.
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"Today, there were also clashes around Bulbul, where they announced around 30 days ago that they captured, occupied it", he said. Turkey sees the YPG as a "terrorist" group.
Turkey's foreign minister said Thursday Turkish forces would complete the Afrin offensive by May and would carry out a joint operation against the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) militants in Iraq with Baghdad.
Tensions between the U.S. and Turkey has escalated as a result of the operation, with Ankara accusing Washington of leaving pockets of Daesh militants in Syria intact to justify continued cooperation with Kurdish forces in the country. The operation may start after Iraq holds parliamentary polls scheduled for May, Xinhua quoted Cavusoglu as saying. "We are in Afrin today, we will be in Manbij tomorrow".
Ankara has launched military incursion on January 20 against Kurdish YPG fighters in Kurdish-led autonomous Afrin and declared that the military campaign will continue until all PKK related groups are cleared from Turkey's southern borders, all the way to Iraq.
The YPG, the armed wing of the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) in Syria, is considered a "terrorist group" by Turkey.