BEIRUT, LEBANON (5:30 P.M.) – Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) forces arrived in the district of Azaz near Syria’s border with Turkey on Saturday.
The move follows Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s announcement that Turkey’s bid to remove Kurdish fighters from the city of Afrin was “actively” underway.
A Turkish military convoy, including tanks alongside other military vehicles, was also seen making its way to the country’s border with Syria earlier on Saturday.
Turkey has placed missile systems, which are reportedly pointed towards the city of Afrin in Syria, along the Turkish border.
On Monday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan talked about impending military operations in Syria’s Afrin and Manbij regions, stating that the Turkish armed forces are prepared to “sort this matter” and that the campaign could start “at any minute.”
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.