Syria demands Turkish forces' withdrawal from Afrin

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The Egyptian Foreign Ministry described the current situation as an "occupation" of Afrin and said in a statement that the Turkish military operation has violated civilians' rights and forced them to flee the city.

Turkey's president vowed Monday to keep up the pressure against a USA -backed Syrian Kurdish militia after his troops captured the Syrian town of Afrin, threatening to expand the military offensive into other Kurdish-held areas across northern Syria and even into neighbouring Iraq.

The Syrian Government demanded the Turkish troops leave Afrin, calling their control of the town "illegitimate".

Around half of that force would be retrained fighters from the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, which is mainly made up of fighters from the Syrian Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) militia.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the two-month Afrin campaign was the "most important phase" of the military operation launched January 20, which is aimed at driving Syrian Kurdish forces out of areas along the border. A commander with the Turkey-backed Syrian forces blamed the looting on "thieves", and said a unit had been created to prevent further theft.

"We need to stand in unity and solidarity and this is how it was during the Afrin operation", he said.

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Lighthizer said that talks were under way with the European Union, Argentina and Australia. China has vowed to take retaliatory measures in response.

"It appears the majority of the population of the city, which is predominantly Kurdish, evacuated under threat of attack from Turkish military forces and Turkish-backed opposition forces", State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said.

He said his forces might also go as far as Qamishli, a Syrian town where that country's government controls the airport and a security zone.

Turkey's disaster management agency (AFAD) says it will continue its aid efforts on Wednesday distributing food and personal care items to 600 families in northern Afrin.

Damascus has on several occasions accused Turkey of supporting "terrorist" group and criticized for its military offensive on Syrian soil. More than 1,500 Kurdish combattants have been killed over the past two months, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitor.

"Turkey will try to enhance the infrastructure and resources in Afrin after it is secured for them to return", Yasin Aktay, a chief adviser to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, told Al Jazeera. "Russia, whose military turned the tide of Syria's war in favor of President Bashar al-Assad, has succeeded to intensify the wedge between Turkey and the U.S.", Piccoli said.

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