Turkish army surrounds Syrian city of Afrin

Turkish forces have surrounded Afrin city in Syria operation, says state media

Turkey forces 'encircle' Kurdish-controlled centre of Afrin

Turkey and the U.S. will oversee the withdrawal of forces allied to the YPG (People's Protection Units) from the northern Syrian city of Manbij, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu announced today, according to Hurriyet Daily News.

Meanwhile, two Turkish soldiers have been killed in separate incidents, both of which involve Kurdish militant groups, Turkish officials said on March 12.

Since the launch of the operation, the Turkish military and Free Syrian Army (FSA) fighters have liberated 217 locations, including five town centers, 180 villages, 37 strategic mountains and hills, and a YPG/PKK base.

The operation is being carried out under the framework of Turkey's rights based on global law, UN Security Council resolutions, its self-defence rights under the UN charter, and respect for Syria's territorial integrity, it said.

"We are removing the last remaining obstacles standing before our besieging of Afrin city centre", he said, adding there was still about six kilometres to go to reach Afrin from the outskirts of Jinderes.

Turkey launched a major offensive in the northwestern Syrian region in January, aiming to drive out the Kurdish YPG militia.

Turkey views the YPG as an extension of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which has waged a three-decade insurgency in Turkey and is listed as a terrorist group by the United States, the European Union and Turkey. IS said it attacked troops in positions they took from rebels.

Syrian government forces captured more than half of eastern Ghouta over the past two weeks and laid a siege on the group's stronghold of Douma.

The Red Crescent was preparing on Tuesday to evacuate more people in desperate need of medical care through a humanitarian corridor established by the regime and its ally Russian Federation. It said the military had taken control of "critical areas" of the town but did not provide details.

The government-run Central Military Media says buses and vans carrying more than 1,000 people left for the northern province of Idlib in implementation of a previous agreement between the army and the gunmen who controlled the Qadam district. The Syrian regime's campaign to crush a popular uprising in 2011 plunged the country into civil war.

The Observatory reported that evacuations of insurgents and their families began from another rebel-held pocket south of Damascus.

The Army of Islam statement late Monday was responding to some local reports that said it is negotiating with the Syrian government and its Russian backers to leave the area known as eastern Ghouta.

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