Turkish forces capture another hill, village in Operation Olive Branch in Syria's Afrin

DAILY SABAH
ISTANBUL
Published
People look on as smoke rises on the Syrian side of the border in Hassa, near Hatay, southern Turkey, as Turkish jet fighters hit terrorist PKK-linked YPG positions (AFP Photo)
People look on as smoke rises on the Syrian side of the border in Hassa, near Hatay, southern Turkey, as Turkish jet fighters hit terrorist PKK-linked YPG positions (AFP Photo)

At least five terrorist PKK-linked People's Protection Units (YPG) targets have been destroyed in airstrikes, 35 terrorists have been "neutralized" in Operation Olive Branch in Syria's Afrin, the military said Sunday.

Two Turkish soldiers were killed and five more were injured during the operation, the statement added.

Speaking at Istanbul's Atatürk Airport before his trip to the Vatican on Sunday, President Tayyip Erdoğan said the number of terrorists killed during Operation Olive Branch had reached 935.

The military said in a statement earlier Sunday that the total number of terrorists "neutralized" since the beginning of the operation has reached 932 after another night of intense shelling near Bulbul district south of Mount Darmak.

The statement noted that terrorist targets, including buildings and emplacements, have been hit in airstrikes after Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) determined their positions.

The warplanes used in the airstrikes have safely returned to their bases following the operation, the statement added.

The military said later Sunday that Turkish troops and the Free Syrian Army (FSA) fighters have liberated the Shaykh Khurus hill.

The operation to capture the hill near Bulbul town began overnight and ended in success, Turkish security sources told Anadolu Agency (AA).

The Bulbul town center was secured after the capture of Khurus hill, the sources said, adding the operations against terror targets near the hill were ongoing.

The Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) and the FSA also liberated Haj Bilal village in Shaykh al Hadid area west of Afrin from the YPG.

The TSK and the FSA captured Mount Darmak on Friday, a day after clearing the Bulbul town center in north of Syria's Afrin of YPG terrorists.

Operation Olive Branch was launched by Turkey on Jan. 20 to remove the PKK/PYD/YPG/KCK and Daesh terrorists from Afrin in northwestern Syria.

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

The operation is being carried out under the framework of Turkey's rights within international law, U.N. Security Council resolutions, its right to self-defense under the U.N. charter and respect for Syria's territorial integrity, it said.

The military also said, "utmost importance" is being placed on not harming any civilians.

The operation in Afrin – bordering Turkey's Hatay and Kilis provinces – was widely expected in the wake of Turkey's Operation Euphrates Shield in northern Syria, which cleared Daesh terrorists from Turkey's border between Aug. 24, 2016, and March 2017.

Afrin has been a major hideout for the YPG/PKK since July 2012 when the Assad regime in Syria left the city to the terror group without putting up a fight.

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