Erdogan: Turkish forces to sweep across northern Syria after Afrin, Manbij

Trenches in Afrin

"Now our objective is Afrin. We can enter Afrin at any moment, God willing", Erdogan told his ruling AKP party in Ankara.

Earlier on Friday, the Turkish troops and FSA forces cleared Hallubi Kabir village in Afrin's northeast and had taken control of a strategic dam which provides water to Azaz and Afrin regions. He predicted the invasion of Afrin, in northern Syria, would be completed by then.

As such, Turkey's operation will put a stop to establishing the autonomous region, which Ankara terms a "terror corridor".

"We will take the entire area under control in the first phase and send our brothers from Afrin back to their lands", he added.

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Turkey has repeatedly called on the United States to stop working with the YPG.

"Afrin is under a Turkish siege", Erdoğan said in a speech in Ankara. "Today, there were also clashes around Bulbul, where they announced around 30 days ago that they captured, occupied it".

"Our target is Afrin".

According to local sources, five people were wounded when a bomb-laden vehicle exploded in front of a post office building close to Security Command in Al Bab's district center on Tuesday.

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Turkey has warned that the Afrin offensive could expand to the nearby Syrian city of Manbij.

"Turkey will make sure the east of the Euphrates to the Iraqi border is cleansed of any terrorist group after operations in Syria", he said. We will be in Manbij tomorrow.

The PKK, which has carried out a three-decade insurgency in Turkey's mainly Kurdish southeast, is considered a terrorist organisation by the United States, Turkey and the European Union. "Almost 350,000 Syrian Kurds driven out by the YPG continue living in Turkey", Çavuşoğlu said in an interview with German daily Die Zeit.

Cavusoglu said the operation could begin after Iraq's parliamentary elections scheduled for May 2018, signaling that Turkish forces may move to northern Iraq following the ongoing operations in northern Syria.

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