People speak with Turkish soldiers in the center of Afrin, Syria March 24, 2018. REUTERS/Khalil Ashawi
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The flags that fly over Afrin are both Syrian opposition and Turkish, but there is little doubt who is in control of this battle-scarred city.It is not clear how long Turkey will continue to hold sway over Afrin, previously a Kurdish-dominated area near its southern border.An Arab, he said he supported the mainly Arab rebels and said life was better than under the Kurdish militia.He was speaking to a group of foreign reporters visiting Afrin with Turkish officials.Turkey considers the YPG a terrorist group and an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which has waged a three-decade-long insurgency in Turkey's largely Kurdish southeast.The Kurdish-led authority that runs parts of northern Syria, and previously Afrin, sees Turkey as an invader.Two years ago, Turkey intervened further east in northern Syria, an operation called "Euphrates Shield," to sweep out Daesh militants and check the advance of the YPG.One official said Afrin would likely follow a "similar model" to the areas to the east.Turkey says that some 140,000 people have returned to Afrin since the offensive ended, although there is no ethnic breakdown of the returnees.
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