BEIRUT, LEBANON (4:00 A.M.) – Members of the Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) captured the town centre of Raju, a strategic position in Syria’s Afrin district, Saturday, according to media reports.
Footage showed FSA members stepping on a Syrian flag and chanting “Allahu Akbar” as they pointed to smoke billowing over a building. Clashes with People’s Protection Units (YPG) forces were reportedly continuing in the town.
FSA forces were backed by Turkish soldiers and squads of Turkish national police and gendarmerie, according to Turkish media.
Located 25 kilometres (15.50 miles) northwest of Afrin town, Raju is one of the district’s five towns.
Turkey views the YPG, which is active in Afrin, as an extension of the banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
The district of Afrin is home to around 500,000 civilians, a population which has doubled with refugees after fighting in other areas of the country.