On March 18, the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) and the Free Syrian Army (FSA) established a full control of the city of Afrin, which had been the main stronghold of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) in northwestern Syria.
Units of the TAF and the FSA started entering the city last night amid minor clashes with the YPG and had gained a full control over the city by the noon.
The YPG had failed to reach any kind of wide-range deal with the Syrian-Russian-Iranian alliance over Afrin and had been forced to abandon the city under the Turkish pressure. According to reprots, a major part of YPG members and Afrin civilians fled to the government-held part of Aleppo province.
Separately, Turkish President Recept Erdogan officially announced that the Afrin had been captured.
“Afrin town center was completely taken control of at 8.30 a.m.,” he said during his address at the ceremony of 103rd anniversary of Gallipoli Campaign. “We will have to take necessary steps to rebuild Afrin, raise infrastructure and wipe out traces of terrorists.”
“We are not there to occupy but to wipe out terror groups and to achieve peace in Afrin,” Erdogan added. However, experts doubt that Turksih forces will leave Afrin voluntarily any time soon.