The Turkish Army’s General Staff announced in an official statement that the Turkish Army launched “Operation Olive Branch” against Kurdish militias in the Afrin area in the Syrian province of Aleppo at 14:00GMT on January 20.
“‘Operation Olive Branch’ has been started on Jan. 20, 2018 at 5 p.m., in Syria’s northwestern Afrin region to establish security and stability on our borders and region, to eliminate terrorists of PKK/KCK/PYD-YPG and Daesh [ISIS], and to save our friends and brothers… from their oppression and cruelty,” the General Staff said in its official statement.”
The military also stressed that “Operation Olive Branch” is conducted under “the framework of Turkey’s rights based on international law” and within Turkey’s right of “self-defense”.
Later, Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu revealed that Turkey informed the Damascus government of its military operation in Afrin area with a written statement before it was launched in a rare diplomatic connection between the two sides.
“We have informed all parties, including the UN,” Cavusoglu added, according to the Russian state-run news agency Sputnik.
From it side, the Ministry of Defense of Russia announced in a statement that it is relocating Russian troops deployed in Afrin to insure their safety during the Turkish military operation.
“The command of the Russian group of troops in Syria has taken measures to ensure the security of Russian servicemen located in the district of Afrin, where the Turkish Armed Forces launched a special operation against the Kurdish armed groups,” the statement reads.
The Russians also said that the US supplies of advance weapons to the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) in Syria triggered Turkey’s military operation against the Kurdish militias in Afrin.
“Uncontrolled deliveries of modern weapons, including reportedly the deliveries of the man-portable air defense systems, by the Pentagon to the pro-US forces in northern Syria, have contributed to the rapid escalation of tensions in the region and resulted in the launch of a special operation by the Turkish troops,” the ministry said. (SouthFront)
Apparently Moscow gave the green light to Ankara to commence their “Operation Olive Branch” and has moved Russian troops out of harm’s way in Afrin. Erdogan undoubtedly is salivating at the dreams of a new Ottoman Empire and ridding himself of those bothersome Kurds.
However, I am firmly convinced that he is being played by Putin. The Afrin Kurds will be bloodied. The Rojava Kurds will eventually come to realize that their US-organized border protection force is no match for the might of the Turkish military. The Russians are admonishing the Kurds that their decision to put their faith in whatever CENTCOM has planned for them is a poor decision. Once the Kurds realize this and appeal to the R+6 for protection, Moscow will tell Ankara to cease Operation Olive Branch and offer a face saving way for them to do so. The SAA will assume control of the northern border and all of Syria east of the Euphrates will return to Damascus’ control. The Kurds will retain some kind of local autonomy in exchange for coming to their senses. The borg will not know whether to shit or go blind.