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Turkey continues with the Olive Branch operation in Syria, pushing on the accelerator at south of Afrin
Turkey carries on the Olive Branch operation in Syria, ignoring the numerous warnings both international and from Damascus. The troops of Ankara and of the allies of the FSA are pushing towards south of Afrin, in the direction of the area controlled by the army of Damascus (SAA). In the last hours they have conquered Rayhalah, Ayn Dera, Basutah, Kufayr and Burj Abdullah. This is squashing the Kurdish fighters of YPG/SDF, who are forced to retreat to the southern and eastern areas of the quadrant. In the mean time, they have created a series if check-points around Afrin, to prevent any surprise counterattacks the enemy forces might attempt. From the east, moreover, the Free Syrian Army continues to push towards the centre if the province, in the effort to close the Kurdish forces in a grip. The presence of pro-Assad A Tal Rifaa militia, however, complicates the situation also because it seems that in the last hours they have received reinforcements.
The Syrian army isolates Harasta at Ghouta and gets ready to invade it. Moreover, they bombard Irbin and Douma. Daesh, however, has nearly taken Qadam and is continuing to advance
Meanwhile, at east Ghouta the Syrian army has managed to isolate Harasta in the enclave from the rest of the quadrant. The objective is to tighten the circle and launch as soon as possible a mass invasion of the city. Moreover, after the end of the humanitarian operations of Red Crescent, Damascus started intense bombing of Douma, which together with the ones going on at Irbin, have made numerous victims among the local civilians. And finally, more to the south, the SAA is trying to take Ayn Tarma and after aim at Zamalka and Hazzah. The militaries, however, in the meantime are being seriously hit by the Islamic State at Qadam. Daesh, after having killed many soldiers, now controls the district almost entirely and is still advancing. It is not clear though whether the militaries are going towards Damascus or westwards in the direction of Lebanon.