A crowd chanted slogans against the US-backed Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces and waived Turkish and Free Syrian Army militia flags in Azaz, Syria, on January 19, in support of a Turkish attack on Afrin.
Protesters held an array of signs calling the Syrian Democratic Forces terrorists, with some using the name PKK, which refers to the Kurdish militia Turkey considers a terrorist group.
Another sign read, “I am Syrian, I am Kurdish, I am against the terrorist PKK.” A man speaking in an interview said he welcomed the liberation of Afrin from the “mercenaries,” referring to the Syrian Democratic Forces, whom he said were dividing Syrians.
On January 18, the Free Syrian Army, which is allied with Turkey, said it was preparing to fight Syrian Democratic Forces from the south, and Kurdish news outlets reported Turkish and SDF forces exchanged fire near Afrin on January 17.
Shells hit a psychiatric hospital in Azaz overnight on January 19, which local news outlets reported were fired by the SDF. Credit: Thiqa Agency via Storyful