Published: Sat, February 10, 2018

1028 militants 'neutralized' in Turkey's Afrin operation: Turkish military

1028 militants 'neutralized' in Turkey's Afrin operation: Turkish military

Turkish police detained leading members of several Kurdish and leftist parties on Friday, the co-leader of the main pro-Kurdish HDP party said, describing it as an attempt to hamper preparations for the annual HDP congress on Sunday.

Ankara began the campaign shortly after the USA announced its intent to train a 30,000-strong "border security force" in Syria, to be comprised of members of the Syrian Democratic Forces, an alliance dominated by the YPG.

Since January 20, Turkey has been conducting a military operation, codenamed "Olive Branch", against the Kurdish forces entrenched in Syria's Afrin region, an area controlled by the US-backed YPG, which Ankara regards as an affiliate of the Kurdistan's Workers' Party (PKK).

Kemalbay has not yet been arrested, though the state-run Anadolu news agency said that the authorities have ordered her and 16 other people's arrests. They include representatives of the Socialist Re-establishment Party, Green and Left Future Party, Socialist Party of the Oppressed, and Socialist Solidarity Party.

Ankara prosecutors sought the arrests on accusations that the suspects sought to stir street protests and clashes under the guise of opposition to the Afrin offensive, Anadolu said. A Russian military pilot died after a Su-25 warplane was shot down over rebel-held territory in Idlib on February 3.

Thus far, the Turkish armed forces claim to have "neutralised" 1,062 Kurdish and Isis fighters for the loss of 14 Turkish soldiers.

The military said the Turkish Armed Forces had destroyed 19 targets and killed 34 more People's Protection Units (YPG) militants in overnight airstrikes on February 9, Hurriyet daily reported.

Head of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Mark Lowcock, had called for an immediate 30-day ceasefire in Syria.

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