Published: Thu, March 15, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Erdogan threatens Kurds: Afrin will be occupied by nightfall

Erdogan threatens Kurds: Afrin will be occupied by nightfall

Erdogan also said civilians in Afrin town were being escorted in cars through an evacuation corridor, as Turkish forces made substantial advances against Kurdish fighters in their almost two-month-old offensive.

"We have got a little bit closer to Afrin".

His statement was clarified by a source after Erdogan was initially quoted as saying that he hoped that "Afrin will have completely fallen by the evening". On Tuesday, Turkey's General Staff said that Turkish armed forces and Free Syrian Army units had surrounded Afrin on March 12.

Mr Erdogan's boastful comment came as Turkish bombing raids killed 10 fighters loyal to the Syrian government at a checkpoint they were manning near Afrin.

"This evening he will take all of Afrin?" said YPG spokesman Nouri Mahmoud. "The terrorists aren't that smart, don't be fooled", he added. Ankara says the YPG are a "terrorist" entity linked to the banned Kurdish PKK group, which has waged a decades-long conflict inside Turkey.

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Erdogan has repeatedly said that after taking Afrin, Turkey's offensive would expand to key border towns controlled by the YPG right up to the Iraqi frontier.

"We will clear Afrin of terrorists, clear Manbij, and east of the Euphrates River to our border with northern Iraq, we will rid the terrorist from all of them the same way".

"We are surveying the terror nests in northern Iraq at every opportunity", said Mr Erdogan. "Soon, we will stomp very strongly on the terrorists there", he said.

Moscow has responded favorably to Ankara's calls to speed up the delivery of S-400 missile system to Turkey, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said after talks with his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu, TASS reports.

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