Turkey to launch imminent Syria operation against YPG

Turkish military convoy dispatched to Syrian border

Erdogan has repeatedly said that Afrin should be cleared of "terrorists" and in November 2016, he said Turkish troops needed to be deployed there.

A YPG spokesman in Afrin told The Associated Press news agency fighting broke out after midnight between his unit and Turkish troops near the border.

U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) Commander Gen. Joseph Votel announced last month that they would establish border forces in Syria, which he said would help prevent the resurgence of Daesh.

"We will continue our operations begun with Operation Euphrates Shield to clean our southern borders of terror in Afrin (northern Syria) in the days ahead god willing", Erdogan said in a televised speech.

Turkish troops entered Idlib three months ago after the agreement with Russian Federation and Iran for the three countries to try to reduce fighting between pro-Syrian government forces and rebel fighters in the largest remaining insurgent-held part of Syria. "They will be providing border security through professionally securing checkpoints and conducting counter-IED operations", the coalition added.

"We expect from our allies that they behave in accordance with the spirit of our deep-rooted relationship during this process", Erdogan said, adding "despite everything" he hoped for cooperation to achieve "common interests" in the region.

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"There is attacks and clashes on the border between Turkey and the People's Protection Units YPG", Hediye Yusuf said on Twitter.

Roj said the Kurdish militia will fight to "defend our gains, our territories". Hediye Yusuf, a senior Kurdish official, wrote on Twitter that the Turkish operation against Afrin was a "violation" of the Syrian people and undermined worldwide efforts to reach a political solution in Syria.

Afrin is controlled by the YPG, a militia considered by Ankara to be a terror group linked to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) waging an insurgency inside Turkey.

Turkey has been working closely with Russian Federation and Iran to end the almost seven-year Syrian conflict despite Moscow and Tehran supporting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Ankara supporting the anti-Assad opposition.

Turkey and its western allies, including the United States, consider the PKK a terrorist organisation.

The Turkey-PKK conflict has killed an estimated 40,000 people since 1984, including more than 3,300 state security forces, militants and civilians since the resumption of hostilities in July 2015.

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