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Turkey moves to take key town in Afrin operation

Turkish jets attacked the northern Syrian town of Jindires with the ultimate goal of encircling the city of Afrin.
A picture taken on March 2, 2018 shows a Turkish army Black Hawk helicopter (front) and a T129 ATAK attack helicopter flying towards the village of Al-Maabatli in the Afrin region in the northwestern Aleppo province countryside as part of the ongoing offensive. / AFP PHOTO / Bakr ALKASEM        (Photo credit should read BAKR ALKASEM/AFP/Getty Images)

Turkish air force jets pounded targets around the town of Jindires as a military offensive against Syrian Kurdish forces in northern Syria entered its 45th day. Efforts to drive out the group known as the People’s Protection Units (YPG) from Jindires are seen as critical to Turkey’s goal of encircling Afrin amid growing debate as to whether Turkey’s hawkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will follow through with pledges to capture the city of Afrin itself — a fight that promises to be drawn out and bloody.

A commander from the YPG-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) contacted by Al-Monitor via WhatsApp concurred that the fall of Jindires, which lies southwest of the city of Afrin, would disrupt access to and from Syrian regime-held areas that serve as the Kurds’ logistical supply lines for the defense of Afrin and its environs.

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