Turkey will confront Syrian troops entering Afrin to protect Kurds - FM

Destruction in Syria

The White House said it was aware of the reports but could not confirm them. "It is false and has no relation with the truth".

Turkish media outlets reported that Kemalbay had been detained over calls for protests against Operation Olive Branch launched late last month.

Jia Kurd said the agreement reached with Damascus was purely military and that no wider political arrangements had been made yet. The Turkish officials detailed the call on condition of anonymity in line with government regulations, and did not mention an agreement for government troops to enter Afrin.

Syrian government media confirmed that auxiliary pro-regime militias are headed to Afrin to support "locals' resistance" against "Turkish aggression".

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has repeatedly said that Afrin should be cleared of "terrorists", and demanded the deployment of Turkish troops there during a speech back in November 2016.

The targeted suburbs - scattered across an area known as eastern Ghouta - have been subjected to weeks-long bombardment that has killed and wounded hundreds of people.

Yet Rudaw reports sightings of Syrian troops amassing on the road between Afrin and Aleppo, where Assad imposed his military's control with a brutal campaign partially targeting civilians, indicating that the Syrian military is going into Afrin whether the Kurds want them there or not.

Syrian state TV reported that rebels fired dozens of mortar rounds and rockets at Damascus, wounding eight people.

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Kurdish sources have said that any deal would be limited to pro-Syrian government forces moving into border areas, essentially acting as buffer to an expanded Turkish offensive in Afrin.

Turkey warned on Monday it would confront Syrian government forces if they entered Syria's northwestern Afrin region to help the Kurdish YPG militia repel a Turkish offensive.

At that time, Assad's government didn't say whether it would support them with military units, but did allow them free movement so they could move their militias from other Kurdish-held areas in order to protect Afrin.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Monday: "If the regime is entering there to cleanse the PKK and PYD, then there are no problems".

Turkish officials have increased to 786 the number of people detained so far in Turkey for criticizing the country's military offensive in northern Syria.

Russian Federation deployed military police in Afrin a year ago, but they pulled out last month before the Turkish offensive began.

On Aug. 24, 2016, Turkish Armed Forces, with the support of the Syrian opposition, launched the Euphrates Shield operation against the IS militants and liberated the city of Jarabulus as well as the city of Al-Bab in northern Syria.

According to the Turkish General Staff, the operation aims to establish security and stability along Turkey's borders and the region as well as protect Syrians from oppression and cruelty of YPG/PKK-ISIL terrorists.

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