Turkish-led forces seize centre of Syria's Afrin

Syrian government forces deploy in the captured town of Beit Sawa it the Eastern Ghouta region on the outskirts of Damascus

Mohammad al-Hamadeen said the fighters entered Afrin shortly before dawn, from the north, east and west of the town, and had not encountered any resistance.

After taking control, Turkish soldiers and FSA fighters destroyed photos and rags left behind by YPG/PKK.

"The army advances in recent days have piled pressure on the factions and every party wants to get the best deal possible", the source said without elaborating.

Turkey's military meanwhile tweeted that its forces are now conducting combing operations to search for land mines and explosives.

Turkey's president said on Sunday that the Turkish military and allied Syrian forces have taken "total" control of the town centre of Afrin, a major development in the almost two-month offensive against a Syrian Kurdish militia that controls the area.

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The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the Syrian government was in control of more than 80% of the area, which has been a rebel stronghold since 2012.

The YPG's local representative body in Afrin confirmed the withdrawal of its militants many hours after the news made headlines.

"We can enter Afrin (town) any second".

Afrin has come under heavy air and artillery bombardment by the Turkish army.

According to the Turkish General Staff, the operation also aims to protect Syrians from terrorist oppression and cruelty.

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The operation is being carried out under the framework of Turkey's rights based on global law, UN Security Council resolutions, its self-defense rights under the UN charter, and respect for Syria's territorial integrity, it said.

"We have received reports that only those civilians who have contacts within the Kurdish authority or the Kurdish armed forces have been able to leave", spokesperson Ravina Shamdasani said.

In his first visit to the area in years, the president was recorded talking and shaking hands with soldiers, as well as some civilians that were displaced by the fighting.

Murat Aslan is a lecturer in Security Studies at the Hasan Kalyoncu University.

The World Food Programme said it was distributing food to 25,000 people in the nearby towns of Nubl and Zahra, including people just arriving from Afrin. Ankara launched Operation "Olive Branch" in Afrin two months ago, saying the area near the Turkish border needed to be secured and the YPG pushed out.

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France's foreign minister said Turkey's concerns for its border security did not justify "the deep incursion of Turkish troops in the Afrin zone", which could also weaken global action against remaining Islamic State fighters in Syria.

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