Turkish Forces and the Free Syrian Army surround the Syrian town of Afrin

The local Syrian population and other sympathizers are gathering to Afrin, in Northern Syria, to act as human shields in order to deter the attack from the Turkish army and the Free Syrian Army

A Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army fighter is seen in Afrin, Syria March 2, 2018. REUTERS/Khalil Ashawi TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

The Turkish army is preparing to storm the Syrian city of Afrin, in the northern Syria, in order to attack and “eliminate” the People’s Protection Units (YPG), a Kurdish fighting force frequently described as a “terrorist” organization by Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the president of Turkey.

Alan Fisher, journalist for Al-Jazeera based in Gaziantep, Turkey, reports that fighters from the Free Syrian Army (FSA) were fighting alongside the Turkish soldiers and that both armed groups now surround the Kurdish town of Afrin:

“There were people who said they wanted to help the YPG against the FSA and the Turks, and so they offered themselves as human shields – an offer that was accepted by the YPG. And it’s not just people from the Kurdish areas who are going there. We’re also hearing reports of women’s groups, socialist groups that are also offering their services – to put themselves between the FSA and the Turks and the YPG. ”

The situation in Northern Syria is now profoundly complicated, as alliances now seem intertwined. The YPG, which was financed and trained by American forces, is now being attacked by Turkey, which is part of the North Atlantic Treaty Agreement (NATO). In late January, Erdogan said he received confirmation that the United States would cease financing the YPG.

During the last year, Turkey has grown somewhat closer to Russia, as Turkey recently concluded a deal in which they bought Russian-made S-400 surface-to-air missiles. The Russian forces are also very close to the Syrian forces of Bashar Al-Assad, as they provided the needed military and logistical support to the then endangered government. It seems clear that Russia had to obtain Damas’ support for the attacks, as the Turkish air force entered the Syrian airspace.

The Kurdish force in control of Afrin appealed to the Security Council on the legitimacy of the Turkish attack.

Clashes have been reported at the Düsseldorf airport, Germany, between pro-Kurdish and Turkish protesters. Several injuries were reported during this clash. It is worth mentioning that Germany has more than 4 million Turkish descendants on its soil.

Other protests have been reported in Berlin, Bremen, Stuttgart, and other cities.

On March 24th, 2018 will be organized the Defend Afrin International Day of Action, in which organizers encourage activists to stage protests and demand political pressure on elected officials.