Turkish forces, allied militants capture town in Syria's Afrin
Turkish army forces and allied militants from the so-called Free Syrian Army (FSA) have seized control of a town in Syria's northwestern Afrin region that has been the target of a military campaign over the past weeks.
Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency reported the capture of Jandairis on Thursday, saying members of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) were pushed out of the city center following intense clashes.
Airstrikes intensified on Jandairis after Turkish forces captured the hill overlooking the town a day earlier, it added.
The Turkish troops and allied militants have so far seized five of Afrin's seven urban centers, according to Anadolu.
The so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) confirmed the full capture of Jandairis by the Turkish forces "after heavy and sustained bombardment by Turkish aviation."
SOHR head Rami Abdel Rahman said the Syrian town had suffered extensive destruction.
Turkey launched an operation in the Syrian city of Afrin on January 20 to eliminate the YPG, which Ankara views as the Syrian branch of the outlawed Kurdish Workers Party (PKK).
It came after the US said it would work with the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) militants to set up a new 30,000-strong “border security” force.
The US views the YPG as an ally in Syria, where the militant group forms the backbone of the SDF that is being trained, equipped and protected by the Americans.