DEBKAfile’s exclusive sources: The Popular Forces, which are allied with the Assad regime, set out Tuesday for Afrin City with tank support. This group is made up of Afghan Shiites and the Syrian Alawite Shabiha. No sooner had the force entered the Afrin enclave than Turkish warplanes took to the air to bomb their route to the city. These actions have brought Turkeu and Syria a step closer to a direct military clash in the Kurdish enclave. Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan upped the ante by declaring: “The Turkish military will soon lay siege to Afrin city.