Turkey's assault on Afrin, launched last month, aims to clear the region of YPG fighters that now control the territory. A return to the area, where a mix of regional and global powers have boots on the ground, threatens to further complicate the situation and lead to unwanted confrontations.
Turkey maintains its offensive is aimed exclusively at eliminating Kurdish YPG militants and that its troops would withdraw once the operation achieves its goals. On Jan. 20, it launched a major air and ground offensive, pounding the enclave with airstrikes and artillery on a daily basis.
The Turkish military will clear Syria's Afrin region of terrorists "no matter the consequences", opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahceli said Tuesday.
"Turkey is not a part of a war in Syria, but it is in a justified war against terrorism", he said.
"Or more easily, it can close the air space for the Turkish air force to operate, which would make any military operation by Turkey very hard because it is the superior air force that has given them the edge in Afrin".
"The (Syrian deployment) was seriously stopped yesterday".
There have so far been no reports of the Syrian government forces entering Afrin.
According to the Turkish General Staff, the operation aims to establish security and stability along Turkey's borders and the region as well as protect Syrians from oppression and cruelty of terrorists.
Turkey warns Assad not to intervene in Kurdish enclave
Turkey on January 20 launched Operation Olive Branch to remove YPG/PKK-Daesh terrorists from Afrin, northwestern Syria, along Turkey's border.
The deal was only on military aspects and any political or other agreements would have to wait for further negotiations between Damascus and the Kurdish administration, he said.
The Syrian government and Kurdish fighters have clashed on occasion, and Assad technically opposes the Kurds' demands for autonomy. But over the past two years, Ankara has focused on thwarting Syrian Kurdish gains and cooperated with Tehran and Moscow to try to end a civil war now in its seventh year.
Together, Turkey's tanks and loyal FSA brigades set up...
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan held a phone conversation with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on Monday to discuss the conflict in Syria where the two sides back warring factions. The Turkish officials detailed the call on condition of anonymity in line with government regulations, and did not mention an agreement for government troops to enter Afrin.
The Turkish army says 32 of its troops have been killed.
State media did not elaborate on the make-up of the "popular forces" due to enter Afrin on Monday and made no mention of regular army troops being deployed.
But a spokesman for the YPG denied agreeing on a deal with Damascus.