Smoke clouds Afrin as Turkey launches airstrikes

Turkish planes have started bombing Kurdish targets in the Syrian city of Afrin on Saturday, as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced this morning the beginning of a ground operation against Kurdish forces in Syria.

Footage emerging from Afrin shows thick black smoke billowing over the skyline from several points across the city, namely Alashrafyah area and the Jenderes road.

According to reports, an estimated number of the Kurdish fighters in the Afrin area of Syria is between 8,000 and 10,000.

Turkey views the People’s Protection Units (YPG), which is active in Afrin, as extension of the banned militant group Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

The district of Afrin is home to about 500,000 civilians, a population which has doubled with refugees after fighting in other areas of the country.

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