The Syrian government also denied that Ankara informed Damascus of the operation, despite Turkish media reporting that such notification was forwarded "in writing," Syrian state media reported, citing an official source.
The Kurdish YPG militia said the Turkish airstrikes have forced it to fight back. "We will defeat this aggression, like we have defeated other such assaults against our villages and cities," the group said, as quoted by Reuters. It claims that Ankara had hit civilian neighborhoods and urged men and women in northern Syria to join its ranks to protect Afrin.
YPG press secretary Rojahat Roj told Ria Novosti that none of the group's fighters were injured in the airstrikes. "We do not have information about the losses of the SSA (Free Syrian Army) and the Turkish Armed Forces... Their attacks will not be left unanswered..." he said.
At least 10 people were injured in Saturday's airstrikes, the press service of Afrin told Sputnik. "According to recent figures, 10 people were injured, including three people who suffered severe wounds. The list of injured people includes two children," the press service said. It added that local authorities called on Afrin residents to donate blood for victims.
Unverified photos of blood covered people being treated at hospitals have emerged online.
YPG-linked media, ANHA, reports 7 seven casualties due to Afrin operation launched by Turkey Saturday. 📷ANHA pic.twitter.com/EqltJ7MevE— Rudaw English (@RudawEnglish) January 20, 2018
Dubbed ‘Operation Olive Branch,’ the Turkish offensive was launched earlier Saturday, with Turkish government officials saying Kurdish “terrorist” targets were struck from the air and on the ground. Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army militants simultaneously entered the Afrin area.
Turkish jets successful struck 108 out of 113 targets, including the Mannagh Air Base, a military airport in northwest Syria under the control of Syrian Kurdish militants, Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency reported. Some 72 planes were deployed as part of Saturday's operation, Turkey's Chief of General Staff said in a statement cited by Hurriyet.