Turkish strikes said to kill 14 Damascus loyalists


Three Kurdish fighters were also killed in the strikes late on Thursday on the village of Jamma in the enclave on the Turkish border, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

The Syrian government deployed fighters to the enclave a month later after the Kurds appealed for help.

The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a YPG-led militia alliance, said in a statement that Turkish air strikes had targeted positions held by the Syrian army's "popular forces" from 5 a.m. (0300 GMT) until 10 a.m. (0800 GMT).

Since the launch of the operation on January 20, Turkish military and the FSA liberated 127 locations including two town centers, 96 villages, 22 strategic mountains and hills and two YPG/PKK bases.

In strongly worded statements to two North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies, Turkey's foreign ministry spokesman said a U.S. State Department appeal that Turkey "go back and read" the ceasefire resolution was unfounded, and he also denied that Paris had told Ankara that the truce also applied to its Afrin campaign.

Pro-regime fighters are present on several fronts in the enclave, according to the Kurds.

Judicial sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that 13 people were detained in the country' northeastern province of Kars on Saturday for taking part in an online campaign against the offensive.

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Thousands of civilians have fled their homes since the start of the assault, either to the town of Afrin or to nearby government-controlled areas.

Turkish soldiers along with Free Syrian Army (FSA) forces backed by Special Forces teams of Turkish national police and gendarmerie captured on Saturday the town center of Raju, a strategic location in Syria's Afrin district from PKK affiliated People's Protection Forces (YPG) terrorists.

On Thursday, an aid convoy carrying food and medical supplies entered the area for the first time since the start of the operation.

Ankara views the YPG as the Syrian branch of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) militant group that has been fighting for an autonomous region inside Turkey since 1984.

The YPG has been an important ally for the United States in the fight against ISIS.

Even though the UN Security Council last week approved a 30-day ceasefire across Syria, including Afrin, Turkey has continued its assaults on the region.