“In the coming days, swiftly, we will lay siege to the center of the town of Afrin,” Erdogan said on Tuesday to the lawmakers of his ruling Justice and Development Party on Tuesday.
The Turkish president said the siege will prevent militants of the Kurdish People’s Protection Unites (YPG) from “bargaining” with the Syrian government.
Erdogan, however, said, “We did not go there to burn it down,” stressing that the so-called Operation Olive Branch is meant to “create a safe and livable area” for the Syrian refugees inside Turkey.
Turkey began the offensive on January 19 against the YPG, which controls Afrin. It associates the Kurds there with the separatist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has been fighting for autonomy on Turkish soil since 1984.