CAIRO – Turkey’s armed forces and allied Syrian militias on Sunday advanced in Afrin, a Kurdish-controlled enclave in northwestern Syria, despite a resolution approved by the United Nations Security Council demanding a 30-day, nationwide ceasefire.
Turkish troops and their allies seized control of a number of localities inside Syria near the border, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a United Kingdom-based war monitor, which did not clarify how many towns had been taken or their names.
Turkish forces control the vast majority of territory along the border between Afrin and Turkey, according to the SOHR, with fighting also taking place in other areas in Afrin.
YPG leadership issued a statement saying its forces were committed to implementing the UN resolution, but also claimed they had the right to respond to any Turkish attack.
Saturday’s UN ceasefire, applied throughout Syria, comes in response to the more than 500 people killed in an increased military offensive by forces loyal to the Syrian government over the past week in Eastern Ghouta, the last remaining rebel-held area outside Damascus.
Under the ceasefire deal, continued military operations will be authorized against groups regarded as terrorist organizations by the UN, including the Islamic State and Nusra Front, who now call themselves Tahrir al-Sham, which the Syrian government says is present in Eastern Ghouta.
On Jan. 20, Turkey launched its military operation into Afrin in a bid to clear the region of Kurdish YPG militias.
Turkish operations on the ground are spear-headed by rebel militia factions from the Free Syrian Army.