MOSCOW, February 21. /TASS/. Turkey’s operation in northern Syria’s Afrin is a blatant violation of Syria’s sovereignty, Syrian Ambassador to Russia Riyad Haddad told reporters on Wednesday.
"Speaking about Turkey’s aggression in Afrin, this is a blatant violation of Syria’s sovereignty," the ambassador stressed.
On January 20, the Turkish General Staff announced its launch of Operation Olive Branch against the Kurdish People's Protection Units and the Democratic Union Party in Syria’s Afrin, home to 1.5 mln Kurds and refugees from other Syrian regions. Ankara has labelled these organizations as terrorists.
The Turkish operation is primarily aimed against the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), which is the backbone of the Syrian Democratic Forces armed coalition that enjoys US support.
Riad Haddad also told reporters that he had no information about Syrian government forces being present in Afrin.
"I have no information about the current presence of the Syrian army in Afrin," he said.
On February 19, Firat News Agency reported that the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) will yield the Syrian army several positions in Afrin and areas along the border with Turkey. The Kurds also demand Damascus provides air defense of Afrin that is being attacked by the Turkish Air Force. Damascus has not confirmed yet that it is preparing to bring troops in Afrin.
On Monday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said during a phone conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin that the Syrian government would face certain consequences if Damascus decided on signing a deal with the YPG and sending forces to Afrin.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu earlier said Ankara was not against deploying Syrian government forces to Afrin if they fight against terrorism there. He stressed that if the Syrian forces entered Afrin to protect the YPG, "no one would be able to stop Turkey’s forces."