Turkish airstrikes damage historical site in southern Afrin

PYD  PKK supporters vandalize mosque in French city

PYD PKK supporters vandalize mosque in French city

The White House said Trump had urged Erdogan to curtail the military operation in Syria, while Turkey said Erdogan had told Trump that USA troops should withdraw from Manbij.

Turkish forces are set to push the operation to the city of Manbij and then as far east as the Iraqi border.

Sixty-nine pro-Turkish rebels have been killed, as well as 78 Kurdish fighters.

There are also reports that Turkish air strikes have seriously damaged an ancient temple in the region.

Both are the dominant units in the Syrian Democratic Forces, which, with U.S. support, has largely defeated the Islamic State militants in eastern Syria, forcing them from their major strongholds of Raqqa and Deir-al-Zour past year.

Meanwhile, FSA fighters claimed YPG fighters have "forcibly recruited" Kurdish civilians to fight against the Turkish military and the FSA.

But with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan intensifying his threats to extend the Turkish offensive to the areas farther east, where the USA military maintains troops, a larger conflict looms.

Turkey's foreign minister told reporters Thursday that Erdogan had asked Trump to withdraw U.S. troops from Manbij.

The Observatory said Turkish air strikes had killed three people in one family early on Sunday in Afrin. The PKK is designated a terrorist group by Washington and Ankara. Erdogan's primary focus has been a presidential election in Turkey scheduled for next year, and the intensifying confrontation with Washington works in his favour politically at home, she said.

"A NATO ally arming a terrorist organisation that is attacking another NATO ally is a fundamental breach of everything that NATO stands for", he wrote.

Turkey's interior ministry said Monday that authorities had detained 311 people suspected of disseminating "terror propaganda" in connection with the Syria offensive.

Syria's main Kurdish militant group has announced that it will boycott upcoming peace talks in Russian Federation over a military incursion by Turkey into territories held by Kurds in northern Syria.

"We said before that if the situation remained the same in Afrin we could not attend Sochi", said Yussef, adding that the operation in Afrin "contradicts the principle of political dialogue".

Rebel backer Turkey is one of the sponsors of the talks in the Black Sea resort of Sochi on Monday and Tuesday, along with Damascus allies Russian Federation and Iran.

Assad's forces have managed to regain control of much of the territory lost in the initial years of the war and in recent months have been concentrating efforts on the northwestern province of Idlib.

In northwestern Idlib, the Observatory and the first responders known as the White Helmets reported at least 12 civilians were killed in airstrikes in the towns of Saraqeb and Maaret al-Numan.

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