The statement by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that the Turkish military stopped the advance of Damascus-backed troops into the city of Afrin is untrue, spokesman for Kurdish self-defense forces Reyzan Hedu told RIA Novosti.
“The forces sent (to Afrin) are directed by the Syrian government, from the command of the Syrian army. Erdogan turned out to be a bad traffic policeman today, saying that he stopped the movement of Syrian forces that were heading to Afrin. That statement is not true,” said Hedu, adding that troops are already in the city.
He also commented on the words of the Turkish president that “Shiite fighters” tried to force their way into the city. A representative of the Kurdish forces responded by saying: “In Syria, we are proud of our religious and national diversity.”
Earlier, Erdogan said that the convoy, consisting of “Shiite militia,” tried to enter Afrin, but withdrew from the city after the Turkish artillery opened fire on it. The Turkish leader also said that he warned the presidents of Russia and Iran, Vladimir Putin and Hassan Rouhani, that if the pro-government forces try to force their way into Afrin, the Turkish side will make them “pay” for it.
Afrin is a Syrian city located in the northwest of Syria near the Turkish border. Kurdish units are located in the city, which Ankara considers terrorist forces. Turkey moved troops into the country and has been conducting a counter-terrorist operation there since January 20.
On Tuesday, February 20, the Syrian media reported that pro-government forces had entered the city to assist the Kurds. However, the Turkish Anadolu Agency later reported that the forces loyal to Damascus retreated, as the Turks opened fire on them.
The central government of Syria considers Turkey’s actions in its territory to be aggression.