The Third Anniversary of the Occupation of Afrin by Turkey
On January 20, 2018, Turkey launched an operation called the Olive Branch in the Afrin region in northwestern Syria which eventually led to the complete occupation of the Afrin region.
After the occupation of the Afrin region, the Syrian government has so far failed to carry out operations to liberate these areas or provide the necessary arrangements for the liberation of the Afrin region, and this important issue has been postponed to the next phases of the Syrian war; However, the Syrian government called the Turkish government’s action in conducting military operations in the Afrin region and other parts of northern Syria as act of “occupying” and demanded the full withdrawal of the Turkish Army from its territory.
On the other hand, Afrin region is a red line for Turkey. Turkey insists it will not allow a Kurdish entity to be established on its southern border. Because domination over Afrin, provides the geographical connection between all border areas between Turkey and Syria.
This region is also important for the Kurds, and in their project it is strategically important to dominate the northern regions of Syria and establish an independent Kurdish entity. Because if the conditions allow, according to many Kurdish officials, Afrin will be the geographical bridge of this project to the Mediterranean Sea.
According to Turkish sources, during the Turkish operation in the Afrin region, 3,700 members of the People’s Protection Units (YPG), the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the Democratic Union Party (PYD) were also killed.
The General Staff of the Turkish Army announced that 49 Turkish soldiers were killed and 225 others were wounded during the 58-day operation of the Olive Branch in Afrin.
But sources close to the militants said 409 members of the Free Syrian Army had been killed during Operation Olive Branch. The sources also put the number of civilian casualties in the operation at more than 300 and the number of refugees displaced by the Turkish military offensive in northern Syria at more than 200,000.
The city of Afrin is still occupied by Turkish and Ankara-backed forces and is witnessing a variety of insecurities, including multiple bombings and unprecedented assassinations.