Turkish Foreign Minister Expects US to Back Ankara in Syria, 'Not Terrorists'

Protesters climb the building of Turkish Cypriot newspaper

The army said IS was also being targeted in this operation although it no longer has any major presence in the Afrin area. The trouble is that Syria's Kurds are allies of the United States, which plans to arm and train a 30,000-man militia over Turkey's vehement protests.

The only aim of Operation Olive Branch is to eliminate terrorists from its area of operations, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ said on January 22.

Turkish officials say dozens of people were hurt by a rockets fired from inside Syria into two Turkish border towns.

The YPG confirmed the advance, saying two villages in Afrin's Bilbil district near the Turkish border had come under attack. One person was wounded. He added that Iran expects Turkey to remain committed to the Astana peace talks that aim to resolve differences in Syria.

German MEP Martina Michels also criticized the military operation in Afrin, stressing that "it is unacceptable that the Turkish army has been attacking Kurdish villages". No casualty figures were released.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan confirmed the beginning of the operation during a televised speech given during the AKP Congress in the region of Kütahya (photo).

"Our jets took off and started bombing".

The attack "can undermine seriously the resumption of talks in Geneva, which is what we believe could really bring sustainable peace and security for Syria", she said, a reference to the United Nations peace effort. He added that he expected Turkish forces to complete the offensive "very quickly".

Rescue workers in a Syrian rebel-held enclave east of Damascus accused government forces of using chlorine gas during bombardment of the area on Monday, and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least 13 people had suffered suffocation.

US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis urged Turkey on Tuesday to exercise restraint in its military operations in northern Syria, which he said had disrupted the peaceful return of refugees and could prove to be an opening for al Qaeda and Islamic State.

US officials quickly called on Turkey to limit the scope and duration of the operation to avoid civilian casualties. He made the comments Saturday in phone calls with Russian and Turkish officials.

"Ghouta, Idlib, Afrin - France asks for an urgent meeting of the Security Council", Jean-Yves Le Drian, the French foreign minister, said on Twitter on Sunday.

There is growing global concern that the Turkish offensive could ignite yet another humanitarian crisis in Syria.

In addition, Syria will never be any troops, the Turkish right, and they know it, he said. Most of the civilians were killed in Turkish airstrikes, which have targeted towns and cities in the enclave. Caty Weaver was the editor.

I ask the U.S.: Does your operation in Afghanistan, which you launched more than 10 years ago, have a certain time frame?