France advised Turkey to 'put an end' to Afrin offensive: Foreign Minister

Turkey briefs heads of diplomatic missions on Afrin

After the Pentagon acknowledged an "operational pause" in Syria in the fight against Daesh, the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces announced on Tuesday the redeployment of 1,700 militants from the front lines against Daesh to Afrin.

A Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army fighter is seen in Afrin, Syria on March 2, 2018.

According to the Turkish General Staff, the operation, which was launched to clear YPG/PKK-ISIL terrorists from Afrin, aims to establish security and stability along Turkey's borders and the region as well as to protect Syrians from terrorist oppression and cruelty.

"We have taken out 1,700 fighters.to defend Afrin against terrorism", said Abu Omar al-Edilbi, the spokesman for the militias that have been fighting Islamic State in eastern Syria as part of the USA -backed Syrian Democratic Forces.

The US strategy for fighting against ISIS within Syria has been to provide air support and artillery to target the area of the operation and throw Kurdish YPG fighters into the situation until they take over the territory.

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The MHP chair also criticized a U.S. Department of State spokesperson's statements claiming that the U.N. Security Council's decision of a 30-day cease-fire in Syria covers Turkey's Afrin operation as well.

"Some fighters operating within the SDF have chose to leave operations in the middle Euphrates river valley to fight elsewhere, possibly in Afrin", Galloway said.

In response, Turkey's Foreign Ministry released a lengthy, strong-worded statement criticizing both the USA and France's calls for Ankara to adhere to the ceasefire. Bah├želi said the U.N.'s resolution does not reference the Afrin operation and added that Turkey is not part of any side in a war.

Aksoy said Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu will travel to Moscow on March 12-14 and to Washington on March 19.

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