Turk­ish forces en­cir­cle Kur­dish-held city

The Washington Post - - THE WORLD - — Erin Cun­ning­ham and Heba Habib

Turk­ish forces and al­lied rebels an­nounced the en­cir­clement of the Syr­ian city of Afrin on Tues­day in a ma­jor es­ca­la­tion of a week­s­long of­fen­sive to oust Kur­dish mil­i­tants from the area.

Bri­tain-based Syr­ian Ob­ser­va­tory for Hu­man Rights con­firmed that Turk­ish troops and their Syr­ian rebel prox­ies had sur­rounded the city.

Kur­dish of­fi­cials, how­ever, said that only parts of the city were be­sieged.

The re­newed push fol­lows rapid ad­vances by Turk­ish-backed rebels against Kur­dish mil­i­tants in re­cent days.

Turkey, which is fight­ing Kur­dish in­sur­gents at home, says Kur­dish-con­trolled ter­ri­tory in Syria poses a threat to its na­tional se­cu­rity. Afrin has been un­der Kur­dish con­trol since 2012.

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