Turkey, Politics

Erdogan: Turkish troops to enter Afrin at any moment

3,569 terrorists 'neutralized' since start of Operation Olive Branch in Syria's Afrin, says Turkish president

17.03.2018
Erdogan: Turkish troops to enter Afrin at any moment

MARDIN, Turkey 

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday that Turkey-backed troops had surrounded Afrin city center in northwestern Syria and were ready to enter at any moment.

"We are about to enter Afrin, and we may announce the good news at any time," said Erdogan at his Justice and Development (AK) Party's 6th Annual Congress in southeastern province of Mardin.

He added that a total of 3,569 terrorists have been "neutralized" in Afrin since the start of Operation Olive Branch.

Turkish authorities often use the word "neutralized" in their statements to imply the terrorists in question either surrendered or were killed or captured.

On Jan. 20, Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch to clear YPG/PKK and Daesh terrorists from Afrin.

Since the launch of the operation, the Turkish military and FSA have liberated 268 locations, including five town centers, 224 villages, 44 strategic mountains and hills, and one YPG/PKK base.

The forces reached Afrin city's border last week and encircled it.

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 the oppression and cruelty of terrorists.

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 also said only terror targets were being destroyed and "utmost care" was being taken to not harm civilians.

Reorting by Baris Gundogan:Writing by Satuk Bugra Kutlugun

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