The Afrin operation: The need for peace


On Wednesday, the Pentagon said in a statement that the United States "continues to train local security forces in Syria ... this is not a new "army" or conventional "border guard" force".

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Washington had proposed working with Turkey and forces on the ground in Afrin to "see how we can stabilise this situation and meet Turkey's legitimate concerns for their security".

"Turkey was candid, they warned us before they launched the aircraft that they were going to do it", Mattis said, speaking with reporters while flying to Indonesia for a series of meetings.

Men hold up the sign of Turkish Cypriot newspaper Afrika, which was attacked by supporters of Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan on Monday over the newspaper's headlines criticizing the Turkish army's campaign in Afrin in northern Syria, in the Turkish-occupied northern part of Nicosia, on Monday.

The US State Department calls on Turkey to "exercise restraint".

Lebanon, besides hosting hundreds of thousands of Syrian refuges is also home to Hezbollah, a political party and paramilitary group that is credited with driving Israel out of Southern Lebanon and is now a key component in Damascus' fight against various rebel groups.

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Syrian Kurdish officials will likely not attend a Syrian peace congress planned by Russia which has been rendered meaningless by "Russian collusion" with Turkey in its attack in the Afrin region, a Syrian Kurdish politician said on Monday.

Plans for the operation are believed to have accelerated when United States officials said earlier this month that it would help the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) alliance, which is dominated by the YPG, build a new "border security force" to prevent the return of IS. Turkey was immediately upset by the decision, and the usa moved to placate Turkey by giving it a database with the serial numbers of weapons provided to YPG fighters so that they could track their use.

"We are here to protect our country's rights within the scope of worldwide law, without harming civilians or property", said Chief of General Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar inspecting troops in the southern province of Hatay's Serinyol district, with the land, navy and air force commanders. However, Turkey accuses the YPG of having links with the Kurdistan Workers Party, which has waged an insurgency against the Turkish government on and off for almost four decades. It is not clear how many Turkish soldiers are on the ground. Twenty-four civilians had also died, it added - 22 in Turkish air and artillery strikes, and two as a result of Kurdish fire.

It is my assumption that the Kurdish controlled areas will be last to face Damascene wrath. "There is also Manbij and east of the Euphrates River", Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said in Vancouver, Canada last week. Turkish officials said this weekend that the goal was to create a "secure zone" along the border.

One prominent area in which American and Turkish objectives clash sharply is policy toward Kurdish fighters in Syria.

Western powers, including the United Kingdom and France, have urged restraint in order to avoid civilian casualties.