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Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army fighter uses a TOW anti-tank missile north of the city of Afrin Thomson Reuters BEIRUT (Reuters) - Turkey shelled Afrin overnight on Tuesday and showed no sign of slackening its assault on the Kurdish-held region despite the arrival of pro-Syrian government militia there, a war monitor said.

The Syrian Kurdish YPG militia said Turkish planes bombed a town in Afrin on Wednesday.

Amid a complicated military situation in northern Syrian areas, where Turkish and U.S. forces are present, Ankara stated forward that its army fights against the Kurdish militias Popular Protection Units (YPG) to secure its borders with Syria.

On Monday, Erdogan talked to Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani over Turkey's ongoing operation, the fight against terrorist elements and the latest developments in Syria, particulary Afrin and Idlib. Currently, the PKK advocates for democratic confederalism within Turkey. He confirmed that a convoy of 40 to 50 vehicles was headed toward the area, but said Turkish army managed to repel them with artillery fire.

However, Istanbul has denied that pro-Assad forces in Afrin are working in coordination with Damascus.

Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov
Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov

The commander, in the alliance fighting alongside Damascus in Syria's nearly seven-year-old civil war, told Reuters the forces in Afrin had returned fire against Turkey-backed rebels.

Pro-Syrian government forces wave Syrian national flags as they ride on pickup trucks upon arriving in Syria's northern region of Afrin on February 20, 2018, with the Syrian Asayish (Kurdish) security forces' flag seen flying in the background.

A new confrontation, pitting the Turkish army directly against pro-Assad forces, would further scramble the web of alliances and rivalries already at play in northern Syria. Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency denied that Syrian pro-government forces had entered Afrin.

Turkey regards the YPG as the Syrian extension of the Kurdish PKK movement which has waged a three-decade insurgency on its territory, though the groups say they are independent.

"And for us, that would make them legitimate targets", Kalin said.

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