The Turkish Armed Forces started a major cross border air operation on the Syrian Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) militia in Syria's northwestern Afrin province on Saturday (20 January), before Turkey-backed rebels launched a ground operation with the support of Turkish tanks and cross-border artillery fire.
Free Syrian Army (FSA) forces have launched a comprehensive operation on Afrin against the YPG and they are being backed by Turkish artillery fire. It is likely that Turkish land forces, including tanks will join the operation today.
Early reports suggest that the Kurdish militias are using a tactic of melting into the civilian population rather than defending military positions. This may complicate the Turkish military intervention which runs the risk of being bogged down in a long operation with high civililan casualties.
source: commonspace.eu with agencies
photo: Turkish tanks preparing to cross into Syria on Saturday evening (20 January). Picture courtesy of Hurriyet Daily News.
Earlier in the day Putin made a shorty private visit to Austria, where he attended the wedding of the Austrian Foreign Minister Karin Kneisl, and held what was described by the Kremlin as "a brief conversation" with the Austrian Chancellor, Sebastian Kurz.
Addressing Armenia's foreign policy Nikol Pashinyan said he wanted a qualitative improvement in the relations with Russia and to improve relations with the EU. To those who are saying Armenia is going to the west, Pashinyan said, "Armenia is going nowhere. It is just standing on its feet"