Turkish-backed militants near Mount Barsaya (Courtesy: Reuters / Khalil Ashawi)
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BEIRUT, LEBANON (3:13 P.M.) – The Turkish Army and proxy militant groups under its control have captured almost the entire Syrian border area that runs throughout the country’s Afrin region following a new wave of effortless advances on Sunday that led to the seizure of seven towns and villages.

According to reports, Turkey-led forces have taken control of the settlements of Samalik, Sheikh Muhammadi, Wilakli, Dudu, Kunda Dudu, Bandarlik and Maydan Ikbis during the last twelve hours.

Virtually no resistance was encountered by pro-Ankara forces during their push on Sunday, this mostly being due to the fact that Kurdish paramilitary fighters have withdrawn from Syrian-Turkish border areas across the Afrin region.

According to Al-Masdar News journalist Ibrahim Joudeh, the most pressing objective for the Turkish Army and its allied militias is to seal off the entire Syrian-Turkish border area of Afrin from the control of Kurdish forces. This will inevitably be achieved.

Following that, it is yet to be seen if pro-Ankara forces continue their Olive Branch operation deeper into the mountainous heartland of Afrin – something which may very well bring them into conflict with Syrian government troops.

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Erdogan declared that he wants to install a territory for Arab and Turkmens settlers that fled from Syria because of Assad. He claims that the Afrin area was originally not settled by Kurds. Thus he was preparing an ethnic cleansing. I doubt that he changed plans.

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I believe it was the Kurds who attacked and cleansed the Arabs and Turkmens (and Assyrians) not Assad at all. Explain why the ethnic cleansing only occurred after the anti-Assad militias came about if Assad was the culprit?
That the Kurds put up no resistance and just vacate the area seems strange but typical of this war.

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The original rural people in the whole area between Kilis and Afrin are mostly Kurds. During Ottoman times the area was ruled by Kurdish beys. It was one of the semi independent Kurdish areas. p.s. Arabs and Turkmens came after 600. The Assad has nothing to do with the cleansings. After the SAA was withdrawn from the area, the Jihadi militants were oppressing and persecuting the Kurds. And the YPG/YPJ was founded with the help of PKK donations to protect the Kurds. Pre war. The Assads merely denied the most Kurds Syrian citizenship and disowned Kurdish land owners to parcel… Read more »