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Photoblog: On the front lines in Afrin Open in fullscreen

Aaref Watad

Photoblog: On the front lines in Afrin

FSA fighters are helping Turkey fight its battle against Kurdish Syrians [Aaref Watad]

Date of publication: 22 February, 2018

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Exclusive pictures as Free Syria Army fighters support Turkey's military offensive against Kurdish militias in Syria's Afrin. All photos by Aaref Watad.
Turkey last month launched its Operation Olive Branch in northern Syria, using ground troops and airstrikes to back a faction of Syrian rebels against the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) which holds territory along Syria's border with Turkey

Ankara considers the YPG to be no more than the Syrian counterpart of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), an armed group which has been waging a bloody insurrection against Turkish authorities for nearly 35 years.

The PKK is outlawed by Turkey, and the YPG is similarly viewed as a "terrorist" organisation by Ankara.

As many as 20,000 Turkish-trained and Turkish-armed Syrian fighters are part of the Turkish offensive against Syrian Kurds, launching a huge ground assault on the YPG, yet the incursion has yet to make huge amounts of progress into the tiny Afrin canton of north-west Syria.

There have been several reports this week of fighters loyal to President Assad arriving in Afrin to reinforce the Kurds against the Turks and Ankara's anti-Assad Syrian allies in the Free Syrian Army.

Aaref Watad, a freelance journalist, embedded with Free Syria Army fighters on the front lines, west of Afrin, and sent us these pictures.

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