>> A new phase of the Syria conflict began on Tuesday, as Syria and Turkey became embroiled in a war of claims and counterclaims. At a speech in front of members of his AK Party, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said his government would continue its offensive into Afrin and northern Syria.
> We're making certain preparations in the field, the besieging of Afrin's city center will start rapidly in the coming days.>> Turkey has been trying to drive Kurdish YPG militia, which it claims is a terrorist group, out of the region. With the help of Syrian rebels, Turkey has already seized several villages on the border, but the YPG still holds Afrin.
On Tuesday, Turkey claimed the pro-Syrian government forces had been stopped entering Afrin after a last minute deal with Russia. But when Syrian state TV broadcast footage of soldiers entering the region, saying they'd been shelled by Turkish forces, Ankara was forced to backtrack. At a press conference, Erdowan claimed Turkey had shelled a quote, convoy made up of terrorists acting independently.
He also warned that any such terror groups would pay a heavy price for their actions. Syria's seven year old conflict is becoming an ever shifting patchwork of alliances between Kurdish forces, Turkey, the Syrian government, rebel factions, and international powers like the US and Russia. The latest maneuverings raise concern the conflict could escalate even further.