BEIRUT, Lebanon (AP) — The Latest on Syria developments (all times local):
The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces says the first week of Turkey’s incursion into the Syrian Kurdish enclave of Afrin has left more than a 100 civilians and fighters dead.
The SDF said in a statement Friday that the dead are 59 civilians and 43 fighters, including eight women fighters. It said 134 civilians were wounded in the weeklong clashes.
Turkey’s military offensive against the Kurdish-controlled enclave of Afrin in northwestern Syria, which began Saturday, had raised the possibility of the creation of a 30-kilometer-deep (20-mile) “safe zone” in Syria running along Turkey’s border
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is vowing to expand Ankara’s operation in a Kurdish enclave in northern Syria eastward, toward the frontier with Iraq.
The announcement came as Erdogan spoke on Friday to his ruling-party officials in the capital, Ankara.
Erdogan says the push into Afrin would stretch to the Syrian Kurdish town of Manbij and toward the border with Iraq, “until no terrorist is left.”
Manbij is held by the U.S.-backed Syrian Kurdish militia, which Turkey considers a terrorist group and an extension of its own insurgent group.
Pushing into Manbj would put Turkish troops in proximity to American soldiers there.
Erdogan again slammed the United States, a NATO ally, for backing the Kurdish group, saying: “how can a strategic partner do such a thing to its strategic partner?”