Any step by the Syrian regime to send militias into Afrin to support the PKK-linked YPG will have disastrous consequences for the region, said Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag.
Turkish Deputy Prime Minister and government spokesman Bekir Bozdag on Monday called Syrian regime-run news agency reports that pro-regime militias were preparing to enter Afrin "unrealistic," saying the reports had not been confirmed by officials.
“Although Syrian official news agency SANA reported that some forces linked to the Syrian regime will enter Afrin, this news has not been confirmed by the official authorities. It is unrealistic, not related to the fact,” Bozdag told reporters following a cabinet meeting in the capital Ankara.
"Any decision by the Syrian regime to send forces in Afrin to support YPG/PKK terror organisations or any step taken in this direction will have disastrous consequences for the region," Bozdag added.
Earlier, the state-run news agency SANA reported that the pro-regime "Popular Forces" would enter Afrin in northwestern Syria where a Turkish border security mission to remove the PKK-linked YPG group is ongoing.
TRT World's Nafisa Latic has more on the operations in Afrin.
The YPG is reported to have reached out to the Syrian regime after Turkey launched its Operation Olive Branch which has so far liberated more than 70 different strategic areas from terrorist control.
Ankara launched Olive Branch on January 20 to clear the YPG and Daesh remnants from Syria's Afrin region on Turkey's border.
According to the Turkish General Staff, the operation aims to secure and stabilise Turkey’s border region with Syria and protect the local population.
The operation is being carried out under the framework of Turkey's rights based on international law, UN Security Council resolutions, its self-defence rights under the UN charter, and respect for Syria's territorial integrity, the military said.
The military also said only terror targets were being targeted and the "utmost care" was being taken to not harm any civilians.
Bozdag said 1,651 terrorists had been "neutralised" since the launch of the operation.
Since the launch of Olive Branch, Turkey has reported some 100 YPG cross-border attacks into Turkey which have killed seven civilians and wounded 125 others.