BEIRUT (Sputnik) – The Kurds in Syria’s northern district of Afrin would not allow the Turkish army to freely enter the city in case of a potential offensive by Ankara, Kurdish politician Reizan Hedu told Sputnik.
“We will not allow a record to be left in history that the Kurds in Afrin let the occupying Turkish army, the new Ottomans, accompanied by terrorist groups, enter Afrin without any resistance,” Hedu stated, stressing that the Turkish army was continuing to shell the villages in Afrin, while local residents are refusing to leave their homes and oppose the presence of the Turkish forces in the country.
The statement was made amid the shelling of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) in the Syrian city of Afrin by Turkish Armed Forces, reported earlier in the day.
According to the Kurdish news agency Firat, the Turkish forces shelled seven settlements shelled by the Turkish Armed Forces, allegedly causing civilian casualties, with a 6-year old child among wounded.
The report claims that intensive fire was conducted along the heights of Tell-Badran, Tell-Bakhtiyar and Tell-Dustan, where the YPG defensive lines are located.
Ankara has been suggesting the possibility of an offensive in Syria’s northern Kurdish-controlled Afrin following a reported US plan to train Kurdish forces in Syria to patrol the country’s border with Turkey. The force is expected to be staffed partly by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), affiliated with the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG).
On Thursday, thousands of people took to the streets in Afrin protesting against the Turkish invasion and calling for international assistance. Several rallies were also held across cities in northern Syria.
On Wednesday, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag said that Ankara was holding consultations with Moscow and Washington over a possible operation against the YPG in Afrin, which Turkey considers as an affiliate of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), an armed group that Ankara considers to be a terrorist organization.
US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert urged Turkey on Thursday not to engage in any invasion of Afrin, calling on Ankara to remain focused on defeating the Daesh terrorist group (banned in Russia).