Armenian Patriarchate of Turkey expresses support for Afrin operation

Believers pray during a mass at the Surp Vortvots Vorodman, an Armenian Church in the Kumpapı district of Istanbul.

The Armenian Patriarchate of Turkey announced its support Monday for the country's ongoing counter-terrorism operation in northern Syria's Afrin.

In a statement published on its official website, the patriarchate said that "it prays for the end of terrorist activities and the establishment of peace and common sense in the region."

"We wish the Turkish Armed Forces success in Operation Olive Branch," the Istanbul-based Patriarchate said in a written statement.

It said that churches will continue to hold prayers for the continuity and integrity of the Turkish Republic during the masses.

Turkish presidential spokesman İbrahim Kalın later thanked the Turkish-Armenian Patriarchate for its support.

"The community foundations, the Turkish-Armenian Patriarchate and the Turkish Jewish Community are standing by our army. We thank all of them," Kalın said on his Twitter account.

Kalin also said unity was "Turkey's biggest strength".

Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch on Saturday, targeting the PKK terror group's Syrian affiliates the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its armed wing People's Protection Units (YPG) as well as the remaining Daesh elements in Afrin region on Turkish-Syrian border.

According to the Turkish General Staff, the operation aims to establish security and stability along Turkish borders and the region as well as to protect the Syrian people from the oppression and cruelty of terrorists.

Afrin has been a major hideout for the PYD/PKK since July 2012 when the Bashar al-Assad regime left the city to the terror group without putting up a fight.

With the newest land taken, the number of captured areas totals 15 on day three of the operation.

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