While Operation Olive Branch continues without any halt, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Wednesday that 268 terrorists have been killed since the offensive in Syria began four days ago with the aim of eliminating terrorists posing a national security threat to Turkey. "As far aswe know, a total of 286 terrorists have been killed in the first four days so far," Erdoğan said in a speech at the Beştepe Presidential Complex in Ankara, adding that the FSA and Turkish troops have suffered a loss of seven or eight soldiers.
According to latest repots, at least 16 villages have also been captured from the YPG.The Turkish military, together with the FSA, fights the YPG but also Daesh as it has already been reported that the terrorist group used Daesh members in clashes against Turkish soldiers. Local sources were quoted by Anadolu Agency (AA) as saying that the YPG has released all Daesh prisoners in Syria's Afrin on the condition that they fight against the Turkish military and the FSA. The YPG and Daesh had previously collaborated in Syria's Raqqa. The YPG-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) helped thousands of Daesh militants and their families escape from Raqqa along with their weapons and ammunition to different parts of the country, including the Turkish border.
Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım also said Wednesday in Ankara that 214 terror targets have been successfully hit so far and that the operation will continue until all terrorists are eliminated from areas bordering Turkey.
A statement released by the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) on late Tuesday said that at least 260 terrorists were killed, while it added that the operation is targeting terrorists and their shelters, positions, arms and equipment. Precautions were being taken to prevent civilians and innocent people from being harmed in the operation. The TSK also said that the number of Turkish soldiers that have been killed increased to three after a soldier was fatally wounded during clashes with the terrorists, and one other soldier is undergoing treatment for his injuries.
The operation has so far achieved to go as deep as 7 to 8 kilometers inside the rural region of Afrin. First, the Turkish army and FSA elements are expected to firmly secure the areas they liberate and then sweep the terrorist group more horizontally. Also, connecting the northern and northwestern fronts will be a priority.