By Halil Fidan
Volunteer medical teams in the southern Turkish city of Kilis are working 24 hours a day to heal both soldiers and civilians from across the border in Syria.
Alongside the counter-terrorist Operation Olive Branch in northwestern Syria, near Turkey’s border, a 120-strong Turkish National Medical Rescue Team (UMKE) from across Turkey is racing against time to heal the wounded.
The team -- all volunteers -- works tirelessly to heal wounded Turkish soldiers, members of the allied Free Syrian Army (FSA), as well as Syrian civilians and then send them to nearby hospitals.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Seyma Temizer, 24, said she has six years’ experience as a nurse and joined the UMKE after serving in eastern and southeastern Turkey.
"This place feels completely different," said Temizer, who has been in Kilis for only a week.
"We’re giving first aid to Turkish and FSA soldiers as well as Syrian civilians. This place requires a totally different psychological approach."
Mehmet Karacakaya, head of Emergency Medical Services in the central city of Sivas, told Anadolu Agency that many medical professionals from around Turkey stepped up to volunteer.
"We’re here from Sivas with 22 people," he said.
"We’re working with passion nonstop. We have all the medical equipment we need, thanks to our government."
Turkey on Jan. 20 launched Operation Olive Branch to remove PYD/PKK and Daesh terrorists from Afrin, Syria.
According to the Turkish General Staff, the operation aims to establish security and stability along Turkey's borders and the region as well as protect Syrians from terrorist cruelty and oppression.
The operation is being carried out under the framework of Turkey’s rights based on international law, UN Security Council resolutions, its self-defense rights under the UN charter, and respect for Syria's territorial integrity, it said.
The military has also said that only terrorist targets are being destroyed and "utmost care" is being taken to avoid harming any civilians.
Afrin has been a major hideout for the PYD/PKK since July 2012, when the Assad regime in Syria left the city to the terror group without a fight.