Turkey to Set Up Camps for 170,000 People Near Syria’s Idlib

Turkey will set up camps to settle 170,000 people in nine locations near Syria’s Idlib, and in the area Ankara controls by further east in northern Syria, Turkish diplomatic sources said, Reuters reports.

Turkey and its Syrian rebel allies, which six weeks ago launched an operation in the Afrin region targeting the Syrian Kurdish YPG fighters, also control a swathe of land further east in Syria that stretching from the area around Azaz to the Euphrates river, which was taken during its “Euphrates Shield” operation that ended in early in 2017.

Operation Olive Branch was initiated on Jan. 20 in Afrin to establish security and stability, eliminate terrorists of PKK/KCK/PYD-YPG and Daesh, and save locals from the terrorists’ oppression and cruelty.

The operation is being carried out under the framework of Turkey’s rights based on international law, UN Security Council resolutions, its self-defense rights under the UN charter, and respect for Syria’s territorial integrity. The military said it is putting the “utmost importance” on not harming any civilians.

Meanwhile, according to Washington Post, Turkey’s war on a Syrian Kurdish militia that is closely aligned with the United States is forcing the group to give up positions against Daesh militants in the Syrian desert to defend against the advancing Turkish troops.

Ankara’s campaign against the YPG in Afrin is reshaping military alignments in northern Syria and forcing the U.S. to pause its mop-up operations against pockets of the Daesh. However, the U.S. is not supporting the defense of Afrin, and the Kurds are looking to Damascus for help, despite the Syrian government’s pariah status in the international community.

Washington and many Western nations hold President Bashar Assad’s government chiefly responsible for the civil war that has engulfed the country for nearly seven years and still shows little sign of abating. To date, Damascus is the only major player to send forces to defend Afrin, the Post added.