1062 terrorists 'neutralized' in Operation Olive Branch

AA File Photo

At least 1062 terrorists have been "neutralized" since the beginning of Operation Olive Branch in Syria's Afrin, the Turkish military said Friday.

The Turkish military uses the term "neutralized" in reference to terrorists captured dead or alive, or those who surrendered during the operations. However, the term is usually used for the terrorists who were killed in the operations.

One Turkish soldier was killed during Friday's operations, the statement added.

The Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) and the FSA also liberated two more villages, al-Nasiriyah and Dukkan, from the YPG/PKK terrorists, the military said.

Three more villages were cleared from the YPG/PKK terrorists later during the operation, the military said.

In a statement, the military said that airstrikes by Turkish jets have destroyed shelters, hideouts and ammunition depots belonging to the PKK-linked People's Protection Units (YPG) and Daesh terrorists in northern Syria.

A total of 19 targets have been destroyed in the operations, killing 34 terrorists, the statement said.

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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