Turkey seizes Jinderes as Afrin offensive ramps up
Turkey seized control, with the help of Syrian rebel allies, of the Jinderes town in Afrin.
The Turkish army and Free Syrian Army fighters were able to push the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) out of one of the largest settlements in Syria's Afrin region, according to Reuters.
Prior to taking control of the area, Turkey intensified its air raids on the Jinderes town center - the FSA had captured a hill overlooking the city one day earlier.
Jinderes is the fifth of Afrin's seven urban centres to fall under Turkish or rebel control.
Ankara launched Operation Olive Branch on 20 January to weed the YPG out of the northwestern Syrian province near the Turkish border. Turkey considers the YPG as an extension of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) that it has fought an armed conflict with for over three decades.
Both the US and the European Union consider the PKK a terror group.
On Thursday, Turkey’s foreign minister said Operation Olive Branch will be completed by May.
On Tuesday, Syrian militias allied with the Kurds said they would redeploy 1700 fighters from the frontlines against the Islamic State to the Afrin region.
Ankara had called on the US to block the redeployment.
The US has backed the YPG-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) as part of its campaign to eliminate the Islamic State. Turkey is furious with the US support for the SDF.