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The Turkish government also confirmed that units of the Syrian militias allied with Ankara, known as the Free Syrian Army (SLA), accompany the Turkish military.
The Prime Minister of Turkey, Binali Yildirim, announced this Sunday (21.01.2018) that the first Turkish soldiers have entered the Kurdish canton of Afrin, in the territory of Syria, according to the Turkish television network NTV.
Yildirim said that the intervention operation in this area, dominated by Kurdish militias in Syria, would continue in four phases to establish a security zone 30 kilometers wide.
However, the Kurdish militias, supported by the United States, denied shortly after Yildirim’s announcement that the Turkish soldiers had managed to penetrate Afrin.
According to the prime minister, the entry was made from the municipality of Gülbaba, in the province of Kilis, ie the northernmost point of the area under Kurdish control, about 30 kilometers away from the city of Afrin.
He affirmed that in the region there are “between 8,000 and 10,000 terrorists”, in reference to the Kurdish militias Units of Protection of the People (YPG).
Yildirim also confirmed that units of the Syrian militias allied with Ankara, known as the Free Syrian Army (SLA), were accompanying the Turkish military.
“The ELS has entered Afrin with our units, our objective is vehicles, equipment and shelters (of the YPG),” he said.
“Our struggle is directed against the Islamic State in Afrin at the same time,” he added, despite the fact that the jihadist organization, a staunch enemy of the Kurdish YPG, has no presence in this area.
Yildirim said that so far there have been no injuries among the Turkish military and stressed that Turkey plans to build camps on the Syrian side of the border to accommodate civilians displaced by the fighting.