2 Turkish soldiers killed in anti-terror operations in Syria's Afrin

AFP File Photo

Two soldiers have been killed in Operation Olive Branch targeting PKK-linked People's Protection Units (YPG), Daesh and other terrorists in Syria's Afrin, the Turkish military said Wednesday.

In a statement, the military said that the soldiers were killed as a result of antitank and mortar attacks by terrorists near Bulbul and el-Maski districts in Afrin.

The military retaliated in kind to the attacks, the statement added.

TSK and FSA have captured at least 35 different strategic areas from terrorists since the beginning of the operation.

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.