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Ecumenical Patriarch declares backing for Turkey campaign in Syria

01 February 2018

He severely criticized the Turkish military recent operations in the Afrin region of Syria.

Reportedly, battles are also underway to liberate Maranez and Bafel heights.

The situation in Syria's northern district of Afrin, where the Turkish armed forces are now carrying out the Olive Branch operation, is causing major concerns, Moscow urges all sides to exercise restraint, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Wednesday.

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Speaking on Sunday, President Erdogan said the campaign could now be extended to other parts of the 500-mile Turkish-Syrian border, to create a 20-mile "security zone".

At least 85 YPG militiamen have died, the Observatory says, as have 81 fighters from the rebel groups fighting with Turkish backing. The development of the situation in the Afrin area in northern Syria regarding the ongoing Turkish operation against Kurdish troops is raising concerns, and Moscow calls on the parties to show restraint, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Wednesday.

The United States has no plans to withdraw troops stationed near the town of Manbij in northern Syria despite warnings from Turkey to remove its forces immediately, CNN quoted the US Central Command chief General Joseph Votel as saying.

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Macron said it could be "a real problem" if "Syrian sovreignty is not respected". The attacks inside Turkey have so far killed four people, including Avlar.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday said the operation would "not stop until we eliminate the terror threat from our border and ensure a secure return for our Turkish brothers to their country".

In an interview with French newspaper Le Figaro, Mr Macron said Turkey must co-ordinate with allies, and that its operation inside Syria must be limited to fighting terror.

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Ecumenical Patriarch declares backing for Turkey campaign in Syria