Turkey Claims to Have Killed 260 Fighters in Syria’s Afrin District

Statement Says Slain Are Kurdish YPG, and ISIS

Turkey’s military issued a statement Tuesday, claiming that they’d killed at least 260 fighters in the course of the first four days of the invasion of Syria’s Afrin District, which is under the control of the Kurdish YPG.

This is a much higher death toll than reported elsewhere, and perhaps even more puzzling, the statement said all the killed were either Kurdish fighters or ISIS militants, though there is no sign ISIS even has a presence in Afrin, let alone fought anybody.

Turkey has long tried to present ISIS and the YPG as both terrorists of equal concern to them, but the two factions have been violently at odds for years. All indications are that Afrin District is solidly Kurdish-controlled, at least ahead of this invasion.

Since the invasion, there’s been a lot of tense fighting, and a lot of fleeing civilians, with a UN reports suggesting that 5,000 civilians have already been displaced, and that many vulnerable people are still trying to flee. They anticipate some 30,000 to 50,000 being displaced overall just in Afrin, though of course Turkish officials are talking invading virtually all Kurdish territory in Syria.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for Antiwar.com. He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.