ANKARA – The Turkish military bombed United States-armed Kurdish militia positions in the northern Syrian enclave of Afrin on Wednesday, as Turkey’s combined ground and air offensive entered its fifth day.
Ankara’s cross-border incursion, dubbed “Operation Olive Branch,” had so far killed 268 Kurdish YPG members in Afrin and three Turkish soldiers, the Turkish Chief of Staff claimed.
The spokesperson for the Turkish presidency, Ibrahim Kalin, announced on Tuesday that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was scheduled to address the operation in a telephone call with his American counterpart Donald Trump.
Turkey criticized the United States on numerous occasions for backing the YPG during Syria’s seven-year-long civil war.
The YPG, which received support and weapons from the US and fought against the Islamic State terror organization, is itself considered a terror group by the Turkish government.
Ankara views the Syrian Kurdish militias as indistinguishable from Kurdish guerrillas inside Turkey, which have fought the Turkish state for three decades in the country’s eastern hinterlands.
Erdogan also held telephone conversations on Tuesday with his French and Russian counterparts Emmanuel Macron and Vladimir Putin, according to presidential sources.