BEIRUT, LEBANON (2:03 P.M.) – Amid what appears to be a new phase of Ankara’s still ongoing Olive Branch operation, the Turkish Army and Free Syrian Army militias under its command have snatched three more villages from Kurdish forces in Syria’s Afrin region.

On Friday morning, Turkey-led forces renewed their assault towards the Kurdish-held fortress town of Raju in northwest Afrin, taking control of Maskanli, Utmanli and the duel-settlement of Mamali.

The new push has brought Olive Branch forces to within about one or two kilometers of Raju via the northwestern direction.

The advance to Raju’s gates by Ankara-backed rebel groups comes amid reports that the Turkish Army has deployed elite troops near the Kurdish stronghold.

The elite Turkish Army soldiers in question are specialist light infantry – reportedly equipped for and training in the storming of urban areas.

If the reports are true, there can be almost no doubt that Turkish troops plan to storm and capture the stronghold of Raju from Kurdish fighters.

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SUCCESSFUL SECOND PHASE OF OPERATION OLIVE a*s: Names of the Turkish soldiers killed and wounded in Afrin: Friday, 2 Mar 2018, 00:15 Remarkable information continues to come out regarding the results of Thursday’s heavy fighting in the village of Bililka in Afrin’s Rajo district. According to information ANF obtained from local sources, more than 30 soldiers were killed and dozens of others were wounded. A group of soldiers were encircled by the fighters but no details are available yet concerning their aftermath. According to records ANF has acquired, 13 dead and 27 wounded soldiers were taken to one hospital alone.… Read more »