After 38 days of the violent fighting and heavy shelling… the forces of the “Olive Branch” Operation manage to link the controlled areas of the “Euphrates Shield” in Idlib countryside and the west of Aleppo

 More than 530 members, fighters and soldiers were killed during aerial and ground shelling and violent clashes in Afrin area

Aleppo Province – The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights: the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitored the continuation of the military operations in Afrin area, which have been continuing since it was launched on the 20th of January 2018, where the pace of clashes increased between the YPG and the Self-Defense Forces against the rebel and Islamic factions and the Turkish forces, in areas in the western and the northern sections of Afrin countryside, and the Kurdish forces tend to carry out counter attacks targeting the Turkish forces and the factions in their sites and positions, while the Turkish forces fight desperately to take the control of Jendires and Raju towns in the north-western and the south western countryside, after they managed until now to link their controlled areas in the north of Afrin with their controlled areas in the west of Afrin, after they controlled the north-western angle of Afrin, represented by Meidan Ekbis.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitored the continuation of the Turkish forces’ advancement in Afrin area, where they managed to achieve strategic advancement, and linked the controlled areas of the factions and the Turkish forces operating in the “Euphrates Shield” Operation in the northern and the north-eastern countryside of Aleppo, Idlib province and the western countryside of Aleppo, through a border line stretched from the north and west of Afrin, and reaches areas mentioned above, thus, the Turkish forces became in control of about 140 km of the border line of Afrin with Turkey and Iskenderun, expanding their border control to about 250 connected kilometers from the western bank of the Euphrates River near Jarabulus area to Atma area in Idlib countryside on the border with Afrin.

The violent clashes resulted in the fall of more human losses, as a result of exchange of targeting which resulted in destroying vehicles and machines, resulted in the fall of human losses, as a result of these targeting and the exchange of shelling in the clash areas between the Kurdish forces against the Turkish forces and the factions, where it has increased to 255, the number of fighters of the YPG and the Self-Defense forces who were killed in the shelling and clashes in Afrin countryside, while it rose to 275 including 44 soldiers of the Turkish forces, the number of the members and fighters of the forces of the “Olive Branch” Operation who were killed in the clashes against the Kurdish Units in Afrin city, also hundreds of citizens, fighters and soldiers were injured with different severity, some of them have permanent disabilities,

While this advancement expanded the Turkish forces’ scope of control to 75 villages and only one town (Bulbula), with a percentage of about 22% of the total villages of Afrin, and the Turkish forces managed to reach the outskirts of the strategic towns of Jendires and Raju, and only few hundreds of meters remain for them to reach Jendires town, and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitored that the pace of the Turkish aerial and artillery shelling on Afrin area, increased after forces of the regime started to enter it on the 20th of February 2018, following an agreement between the Kurdish forces and the regime forces, where Afrin area witnessed tens of airstrikes and shelling by hundreds of rocket and artillery shells, which targeted the townships of Jendires, Sheikh Hadid, Raju, Maabatli, Bulbula, Sharra, Afrin city and other places in the area, while the Turkish forces managed to achieve wide advancement, where they have taken the control of 30 villages at least since the forces of the regime entered Afrin, which equals more than a third of the total areas the Turkish forces have controlled, since the start of Operation “Olive Branch” during its first month.

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