Turkish forces and their Syrian rebel allies swept into the northwestern Syrian town of Afrin on Sunday (March 18), taking control of the town centre after Kurdish YPG forces pulled out, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said.
Video shot by state-run TRT WORLD showed Free Syrian Army rebels opening fire into air in the centre of the town and celebrating. Footage also showed Turkish soldiers raising Turkish flag on a local government building
A spokesman for the rebel fighters said they entered Afrin before dawn from three fronts, meeting no resistance.
But a war monitor, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said clashes continued in parts of Afrin, the main town of the Afrin region which has been under Kurdish control for years. Afrin is one of three Kurdish cantons in northern Syria on the border with Turkey.
A Whatsapp group run by the Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces said Turkish and Syrian rebel troops tore down a statue in Afrin, in what it called a “blatant violation of Kurdish people’s culture and history”.