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Kurdish militia says Turkey shelling Afrin, Ankara declares start of military action

The Syrian Kurdish YPG militia said Turkish forces had fired around 70 shells at Kurdish villages in the Afrin region of north-western Syria from Turkish territory, Reuters reports. Shelling began around midnight, continued into Friday morning and marked the heaviest bombardment since the Turkish government acted on its threats to take military action, according to Kurdish forces. The YPG vowed to respond with utmost force to any attack on Afrin. Turkish Defense Minister Nurettin Canikli said on Friday that Ankara’s operation in the Kurdish-controlled region has “de facto” started with cross-border shelling, but no troops have gone into Afrin.