Turkey Says Its Forces Encircle Kurdish-Held Afrin In Northern Syria

The Turkish military says it has surrounded the northern Syrian city of Afrin, the focus of Ankara's cross-border operation against a Kurdish militia.

Turkish troops and allied Syrian rebels also captured "areas of critical importance" in the surrounding Afrin region, a statement said on March 13.

There was no immediate confirmation from local Kurdish officials.

But the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the Turkish Army and allied Syrian rebels had encircled the city of Afrin, 90 villages, and a nearby town.

The British-based war monitor said thousands of civilians fled Afrin as Turkey advanced.

The city is home to around 350,000 people, it said.

Turkey's military launched its air-and-ground offensive on Afrin on January 20 to clear the enclave of the People's Protection Units (YPG) militia, which Ankara considers a terrorist group.

Based on reporting by AFP and Reuters.