ANKARA - Turkey's operation in Syria's Kurdish-controlled Afrin region has "de facto" begun with cross-border shelling, Turkish Defence Minister Nurettin Canikli said on Friday.
A Reuters cameraman filmed Turkish artillery at the border village of Sugedigi firing shells on Friday morning into the Afrin region in northwest Syria.
"The operation has actually started de facto with cross-border shelling, except there is no border crossing," Canikli told broadcaster AHaber. "When I say 'de facto', I don't want it to be misunderstood, it has begun without border crossings."
"All terror networks and elements in northern Syria will be eliminated. There is no other way," Canikli said.
The Syrian Kurdish YPG militia said Turkish forces fired around 70 shells at Kurdish villages in the Afrin region in a bombardment that began around midnight, describing it as the heaviest such attack since Turkey stepped up threats to take military action against the Kurdish region.