Turkey says its forces take control of Syrian town of Afrin

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GettyThe European Union is set to urge members to approve a further £3.28billion to help Turkey

The Syrian government has sought to drive a wedge between rival rebels who control different parts of eastern Ghouta.

While it wasn't immediately clear which formation hosted Assad's surprise visit, the footage came after the Syrian President visited army positions in Eastern Ghouta, where he met with the "heroes of the Syrian Arab Army" according to Assad's Telegram account. This is giving the public appearance that the fight is nearly over.

Rebels say that surrendering and leaving isn't an option, but a senior military source tells CGTN that the only option Damascus has on the table is a full rebel departure out of Ghouta.

With support of Russian military and Syrian aviation, army units have continued its successful advance in Eastern Ghouta. The fall of Eastern Ghouta means increased security for the capital region, and will likely mean Syria can change their priority to fighting rebels in more remote parts of Syria.

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Turkey sees the YPG as a "terrorist" offshoot of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which has waged a decades-long insurgency against the Turkish state.

Turkish forces and allied rebel groups have been locked in a violent battle with...

Eastern Ghouta, a 105-square-km agricultural region consisting of several towns and farmlands, poses the last threat to the capital due to its proximity to government-controlled neighbourhoods east of Damascus and ongoing mortar attacks that target residential areas in the capital, pushing people over the edge.

The Observatory said about 50,000 had left the southern pocket in the past 72 hours and thousands left on Sunday.

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Ali Imceddemi, a 60-year-old baker, said the YPG/PKK did not allow civilians to leave the town for days, using them as human shields.

Speaking about the capture of Kafr Batna, al-Shami of the Syrian Civil Defense said people "fled in the streets not knowing in which direction to go".

Erdogan was speaking in Canakkale at an event to mark the anniversary of battle of the 1915 Battle of Gallipoli, one of the only major victories of Ottoman forces during the First World War, and an important moment in the history of Turkish nationalism. "There was fierce fighting throughout the night.as the Turkish forces and their Syrian allies tried to break into the city", the Observatory said.

Ankara launched the operation, codenamed Olive Branch, against the town and surrounding areas on January 20, slowly squeezing the militia and hundreds of thousands of civilians into the town center.

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The U.N. secretary-general said Friday he is "deeply concerned" about Syrians fleeing in a mass exodus from Afrin and another rebel-held enclave, eastern Ghouta, outside Damascus. "Human beings in Afrin are being killed", he said.

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