On March 8, the Turkish Army and its proxies from the Free Syrian Army (FSA) captured the villages of Hallubi Kabir, Merasat al-Khatib, Shawarighat ak-Jawz and the Zaghur camp in the Shara district north of the city of Afrin, according to sources linked to the Turkish-backed FSA.
Warplanes of the Turkish Air Force (TAF) supported the Turkish Army attack and carried out airstrikes on several positions of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) in the city of Afrin and the Shara district, according to Turkish sources. The Kurdish Hawar News Agency (ANHA) reported that three children had been killed in the TAF’s bombardment.
Meanwhile, the YPG press announced that YPG fighters conducted “a special operation” against the Turkish Army in the village of Matinli of the Shara district. Seven servicemembers of the Turkish Army special forces were killed during the operation, according to the YGP press.
As the Turkish Army continued its advance towards Afrin city, the civilians in the city and the areas around it began fleeing to the southern part of the Afrin area, according to Kurdish sources.
— Mete Sohtaoğlu (@metesohtaoglu) March 8, 2018
Local observers believe that the Turkish Army and its proxies are seeking to besiege and than to capture the city of Afrin. Turksih forces have already begun to advance towards the YPG’s positions southeast of the city. However, the recent YPG actions show that its leadership may still doubt that Turkey would attack Afrin city itself. If true, this may be a fatal mistake.