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February 18, 2018

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The Latest: Turkey to detain pol for opposing offensive

Updated Friday, Feb. 9, 2018 | 3:02 a.m.

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — The Latest on Syria-related developments (all times local):

1 p.m.

Turkey's state-run news agency says authorities have issued detention warrants against the co-leader of the country's pro-Kurdish party and 16 other activists for speaking out against Turkey's military offensive in northern Syria.

Anadolu Agency said Friday that People's Democratic Party, or HDP, chairwoman Serpil Kemalbay and other activists are wanted for questioning for reading out a declaration against the operation during a conference last week. Her co-chairman, Selahattin Demirtas, was jailed last year, accused of links to Kurdish rebels.

Turkey has detained hundreds of people in the past two weeks for allegedly engaging in terrorist propaganda for speaking out against the Turkish military offensive against the enclave of Afrin aimed at rooting out Syrian Kurdish militia. Ankara says the militia group is an extension of the rebels fighting inside Turkey.

The detention warrant for Kemalbay comes as the HDP prepares to hold a congress on Sunday to elect a new leadership.

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9:20 a.m.

Turkey's state-run news agency says Turkish jets have resumed airstrikes in the Syrian Kurdish-run enclave of Afrin after a brief lull.

Anadolu Agency said F-16 jets resumed their aerial bombing campaign late on Thursday.

Unconfirmed Turkish media reports had Turkey had halted flights after Russia, which effectively controls the skies over the region, had closed the airspace over Afrin, following the Feb. 3 downing of a Russian jet in northern Idlib province.

Anadolu said the warplanes struck Mount Bafilun, the villages of Sheik Huruz and Kefer Jenne and the regions of Sheran, Jinderes and Raju, among other targets.

Turkey launched an offensive into the enclave three weeks ago to rout Syrian Kurdish fighters whom Ankara considers to be a security threat because of their links to outlawed rebels in Turkey.