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In Protest of Syria Offensive, Swedish FM Postpones Turkey Visit

Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom postponed an already scheduled visit to Turkey in a protest of its military offensive against Kurdish-held town of Afrin in northwestern Syria.

Swedish Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday that the visit has been postponed indefinitely.

Turkey’s foray into northern Syria exposed fissures in relations with Western allies and spurred growing international criticism. Ankara says it only targets Kurdish militia, which is affiliated with Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

On Jan. 20, the Turkish military launched the operation to uproot People’s Protection Units (YPG) from Afrin along the Turkish border. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says Turkey would expand its offensive toward Manbij, a Kurdish-held city which is also home to 2,000 U.S. special forces members.

A Swedish media outlet confirmed that the cancellation of the visit is a reflection of diplomatic protest against Turkey.

On Monday, Turkey’s relations with the Netherlands plunged into new lows after the Dutch government announced the pullout of its envoy from Ankara.

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