Turkey began its first wave of artillery fire targeting Kurdish fighters in Afrin, Syria on Tuesday night, said an Al Arabiya reporter.
This comes as a retaliation to the Peoples’ Protection Units (YPG) firing a large number of missiles targeting settlements in the Azaz region bordering Turkey and Syria, which is controlled by the Turkish-backed opposition Free Syrian Army, media reports said.
Turkish forces began a military fortification plan on their border with Syria on Monday, sending a convoy, including armed vehicles and soldiers.
Turkey’s President Erdogan had vowed on Sunday to “purge terrorism” from the country’s southern borders, adding that he plans to launch an assault against the YPG in Syria’s Kurdish Afrin enclave “in the coming days.”
The Afrin district has been a topic of debate recently, especially after the US announced its intention to arm Kurdish border guards on the Syrian-Turkish border, which merited a reaction from Ankara.
Turkey reacted sharply to the US-led international coalition to fight ISIS announcing that they are working on forming a border security force made up of 30,000 men in eastern Syria.
The international coalition said that the goal of this force is to prevent the return of ISIS, but Erdogan threatened to “destroy this terrorist army in its infancy”, fearing that it will become a permanent force stationed at the Turkish border.
Ankara has always stressed the need to expel the YPG from Afrin, who fall under the military wing of the Democratic Unionist Party in Syria, which Ankara regards as a terrorist group because of its association with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party.