Kalin also said during a news conference that the pro-Syrian government forces in a convoy of 40-50 vehicles had retreated, a claim denied by a commander fighting alongside Damascus, who told Reuters they returned fire against Turkey-backed rebels in the Free Syrian Army (FSA).
Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said Wednesday that any force in Afrin, including the Syrian government, would be targeted by Turkish troops if they assist the YPG, the main Kurdish militant group in the region.
The ongoing bombardment and shelling have devastated numerous villages and towns in the Kurdish-held enclave on the Turkish border, with civilians bearing the brunt of the Turkish assault.
But on Tuesday state media reported that members of the "Popular Forces" had arrived in Afrin to "support the locals against the aggression waged by the Turkish regime" and to confront IS, which has no known presence in the area.
State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert made the remarks at a daily press briefing after a question about a meeting between Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara last week.
In January 2018, the Turkish military began an operation in the Kurdish-majority Afrin Canton and the Tel Rifaat Area of Shahba Canton in Northern Syria.
"A dozen or so pick-up trucks had come to advance toward Afrin". It is not possible for us to allow this.
Does this risk a wider escalation?
Precisely, 65 members of Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), People's Protection Units (YPG) and Daesh terrorist organization were killed in Afrin on February 20.
Another soldier was wounded after a handmade bomb was detonated by the "separatist terrorist organisation" - Turkey's official term for the the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) - in the province of Hakkari, the military said in a statement.
What else is going on in Syria?
Afrin has been a major hideout for the YPG/PKK since July 2012 when the Bashar al-Assad regime left the city to the terror group without a fight.
He added that the militias were forced to go back after artillery shooting.
It gave no details, but it is believed to be a reference to an incident in the eastern province of Deir al-Zour on 7 February, when the U.S. military said it had killed an estimated 100 pro-Syrian government fighters in response to an attack on an allied, Kurdish-led militia force battling Islamic State militants in the area.