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Will Erdogan defy Russia, US over Afrin?

Turkey’s plan to launch an operation to take Syria's Afrin faces major difficulties, yet if Erdogan succeeds even partially it will boost his image at home.
A Turkish military convoy arrives at an army base in the border town of Reyhanli near the Turkish-Syrian border in Hatay province, Turkey January 17, 2018. REUTERS/Osman Orsal - RC12B0BC2360
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Concerned that time is running against Turkey’s interests in the region, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has ordered a military operation into Syria aimed at taking the Kurdish-held enclave of Afrin, only a stone’s throw from the Turkish border.

Turkish press reports say the army has already started shelling the enclave from across the border. Whether the main operation will go ahead is not certain, though. If it does, it will be a high-stakes move whose outcome, analysts say, remains uncertain.

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