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Turkey vows to continue Afrin offensive despite Syria ceasefire

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By Tokunbo Salako  with Reuters
Turkish prime minister Binali Yildrim addresses parliament
Turkish prime minister Binali Yildrim addresses parliament   -   Copyright  Reuters

Turkey has rejected Western calls to suspend its offensive in Syria's northwestern Afrin district.

It comes as new video released on social media allegedly shows Turkish backed Syria rebels clashing with Kurdish YPG militia in the area.

Ankara claims the United Nations resolution demanding a 30-day ceasefire across Syria does not apply to its five-week-old military operation which Turkey's prime minister maintains is against a terrorist group.

"There some people confusing the Olive Branch operation that we have been conducting in Afrin with East Ghouta (operation). It is obvious that the U.N. Council's resolution refers to East Ghouta," Binali Yildrim told parliament.

But Washington insists the Turks are mixed-up. When asked during a briefing if Afrin was in Eastern Ghouta, Heather Nauert, the US State Department spokesperson said: “The District - yes. If you look at a map, it is certainly within Syria. I would encourage Turkey to go back and read this resolution; the unanimously agreed upon resolution on Saturday."

Aid corridor

As the fighting rages, the International Committe of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent say they are sending an aid convoy to Afrin to help some 50,000 displaced people.

It is understood to be the first time this year that the charities have secured an agreement from all warring sides in the area for humanitarian deliveries

Aid convoy arrives in Syria's Afrin district