first published on February 19, 2019 by Sean
Combat footage from last year’s Turkish and Free Syrian Army (FSA) invasion of the Syrian province of Afrin against the Kurdish militia. After a preliminary air campaign and artillery bombardments, Turkish tanks and troops accompanied by FSA allies began seizing formally Kurdish held ground in an operation ironically dubbed “Olive Branch”.
In early 2018, Turkish airstrikes and artillery pummeled Kurdish held positions inside the isolated northwestern province of Afrin, Syria. Commencing operation “Olive Branch” and attempting to clear 30km of territory along the Turkish/Syrian border of Kurdish forces – regarded as terrorists by Turkey. Assisted by around 25,000 Free Syria Army (FSA) rebels that had dubious if not direct connections with al-Qaeda.
Allegedly intended to seize a buffer territory between the border region of Turkey and Syria, the Turks provided heavy artillery and air-support while simultaneously supplying multiple FSA factions with arms and equipment, which are obvious in the video. The campaign originally got off to a slow start, marked by stiff resistance led by Kurdish Peoples Protection Unit (YPG) militias in the area who were able to bog down the Turkish and FSA advances.
After several months of intense fighting, the FSA and Turks would seize the majority of the province and tensions in the region remain high. Adding another level of complexity to the Syrian civil war.