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Military Capabilities

Turkey launches major operation against US-backed Syrian Kurds

23 January 2018

The Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) announced on 20 January that it had launched Operation ‘Olive Branch’ against ‘terrorists’ in the Kurdish-dominated Afrin area of northwest Syria to “ensure security and stability on our borders”.

It identified the groups that it would target as the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK), the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), the People’s Protection Units (YPG), and the Islamic State.

The KCK is an umbrella for the PKK and affiliated groups, including the Syrian Kurdish PYD. The YPG is the PYD’s armed wing and has been the United State’s principal Syrian partner in fighting the Islamic State, which is not known to have a presence in the Afrin area.

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