Report: Turkey-backed Rebels Positioned In East of Afrin

Story Highlights

  • Rebels are preparing for a showdown with YPG in Afrin
  • Erdogan recently cited Afrin as next target

Turkey-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) members moved to new positions in the east of Afrin in an emerging sign of a possible joint operation along with the Turkish troops against Kurdish-held town, a pro-government newspaper reported on Wednesday.

According to Karar daily, 1,500 rebel fighters took positions in the east of Afrin after two weeks of waiting in the Turkish side of the border for a possible joint operation against People’s Protection Units (YPG) which controls Afrin.

Ankara views YPG as an affiliated group with Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), an armed militia listed as terrorist organization by the U.S., EU and Turkey.

The Turkish government is extremely worried about the expansion of YPG in northern Syria. The Turkish military deployed forces, tanks, and artillery in Idlib as part of a de-escalation mission launched by Turkey, Russia and Iran during Astana talks about the Syrian conflict.

Last week, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan pointed to Afrin as a possible next target.

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