The Latest: Turkey detains hundreds over its Syria offensive

The Latest: Turkey detains hundreds over its Syria offensive
Pro-Turkey Syrian fighters and Turkish troops secure the Bursayah hill, which separates the Kurdish-held enclave of Afrin from the Turkey-controlled town of Azaz, Syria, Sunday, Jan. 28, 2018. Turkish troops and allied Syrian fighters captured the strategic hill in northwestern Syria after intense fighting on Sunday as their offensive to root out Kurdish fighters enters its second week, Turkey's military and Syrian war monitor reported. (AP Photo)

BEIRUT (AP) — The Latest on developments in Syria (all times local):

1 p.m.

Turkish officials say authorities have detained 311 people for allegedly engaging in “terrorist propaganda” through social media postings critical of Turkey’s military offensive into the Syrian Kurdish enclave of Afrin.

An Interior Ministry statement on Monday says the suspects, who are accused of supporting the Syrian Kurdish militia, were detained in the past week. It didn’t provide further details.

Turkey considers the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units, or YPG, an extension of its outlawed Kurdish rebels fighting within Turkey and has branded the Syrian group as a terrorist organization. Ankara launched a military operation codenamed Olive Branch on Jan. 20 to clear YPG fighters from Afrin.

The Paris-based media watchdog Reporters Without Borders has criticized the detentions as the Turkish government’s “witch hunt against critics.”


12:40 p.m.

Syria activists and rescue workers say at least 11 people have been killed and a hospital was badly damaged and rendered unusable in airstrikes on the opposition-held northern province of Idlib.

The local White Helmets rescuers say the airstrikes on Monday hit Idlib’s largest vegetable market in the town of Saraqeb where 11 people were killed.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights confirmed the attack and said a local hospital was also hit, putting it out of service. The activist Idlib Media center posted photographs of the exterior of the damaged building.

The violence has overshadowed a peace conference hosted by Russia between the Syrian government and the opposition, which is scheduled to open on Monday.

A day earlier, at least 17 civilians were killed in airstrikes in Idlib.