Fears of U.S. strikes if Russian Federation vetoes Syria resolution


President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Wednesday that he hopes Afrin town center controlled by the PKK-linked People's Protection Units (YPG) will be fully encircled by Wednesday evening, noting that the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) and the Free Syrian Army (FSA) are showing utmost care and sensitivity to prevent harm on civilians.

Earlier on Monday, Turkey's army asserted that it had taken control over half of the area under rebel control.

Turkey has killed dozens of pro-Damascus fighters backing the YPG in Afrin.

The US, who has supported the YPG in its campaign to defeat the Islamic State in Syria, does not agree with Ankara's designation of the Kurdish forces and has called on Turkey to limit its operations.

Most recently, according to Turkish General Staff, Turkish forces surrounded the Kurdish-held Syrian city of Afrin in the course of its Operation Olive Branch. As lines blurred between the mainstream Syrian opposition and jihadis groups such as Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State militant group (ISIS), the US switched its focus from regime change to defeating ISIS via support for a mostly Kurdish coalition known as the Syrian Democratic Forces.

Meanwhile, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu is in Moscow holding talks with Russian officials.

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The United Nations said that it received "disturbing reports" of civilian deaths in the north-western Syrian enclave and believes "tens of thousands" have been displaced.

Cavusoglu says he and U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson would discuss the issue further when they meet in Washington on March 19.

The move was in response to the failure of a UN-approved humanitarian ceasefire to take hold despite backing from Russian Federation, which is helping Syria's offensive in Eastern Ghouta, a rebel enclave on the outskirts of the capital.

The area has been under government siege since 2013, leaving hospitals too strapped to treat people properly.

The largest rebel group in the besieged suburbs of the Syrian capital Damascus has vowed not to leave the area and to continue fighting advancing government forces.