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Syrian Kurds Vow 'Constant Nightmare' for Turkish Forces in Afrin


Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army fighters walk together after advancing north of Afrin, Syria, March 17, 2018.

Syrian Kurds are threatening a new stepped-up guerilla war after Turkish forces and their Syrian allies took control of the northern Syrian town of Afrin, a Kurdish enclave.

"Our forces all over Afrin will become a constant nightmare for them," top Syrian Kurd official Othman Sheikh Issa said. "These forces will strike the positions of the Turkish enemy and its mercenaries at every opportunity," he warned.

Turkey and their Syrian allies raised flags in central Afrin early Sunday, declaring they are in full control of the town after meeting no resistance from the People's Defense Units, the Kurdish militia.

"Most of the terrorists have already fled with their tails between their legs, In the center of Afrin, symbols of trust and stability are waving instead of rags of terrorists," a gleeful Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Sunday.

Turkey regards the YPG as part of the Kurdistan Workers Party -- the guerilla group that has been fighting for a separate Kurdish state that would include part of Turkey.

Turkey has outlawed the PKK, considering it to be a group of terrorists.

Erdogan vowed to stop the Kurds from setting up what he calls a "terror corridor" along the Turkish-Syrian border. He threatened to take the fight further east in Syria, where U.S. forces are aiding their Kurdish allies -- setting up the possibility of even more tension between the U.S. and Turkey.

The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the fight to drive Kurds out of Afrin sent more than 150,000 civilians fleeing from their homes in the past week.

Turkish warplanes and shells struck the region despite what is supposed to be a 30-day cease-fire across Syria.

Syrian civilians, evacuated from rebel-held areas in the Eastern Ghouta, gather at a school in the regime-controlled Hosh Nasri, on the northeastern outskirts of the capital Damascus.
Syrian civilians, evacuated from rebel-held areas in the Eastern Ghouta, gather at a school in the regime-controlled Hosh Nasri, on the northeastern outskirts of the capital Damascus.

Thousands flee Eastern Ghouta



Elsewhere, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad visited Syrian troops who have seized nearly all of the Damascus suburb of east Ghouta from the rebels.

"The inhabitants of Damascus are more than grateful and they will maybe tell their children in the coming decades how you saved the capital," Assad said surrounded by tanks and soldiers.

The Syrian assault on Ghouta is aimed at splitting up the rebel factions who control different parts of the suburb.

But just like every battle in the seven-year long Syrian civil war, civilians are paying the highest price.

The fight for east Ghouta has killed more than 1,400 residents in the past month and sent tens of thousands of others fleeing for their lives.

Those who have stayed behind are facing severe food shortages and scant medical care.

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