Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) and Free Syrian Army (FSA) on Monday liberated Muhammadiyah village from PKK-linked People's Protection Units (YPG) terrorists in Syria's western Afrin during Operation Olive Branch, the Turkish military said.
Jandaris town's Muhammadiyah village is located in the west of Afrin.
Since the beginning of the operation, 51 different strategic areas have been captured from the clutches of terrorists, among them a town center, 33 villages, three rural areas and 14 hills.
The miltary also said Monday that a total of 1,369 terrorists have been "neutralized" since the operation begin on Jan. 20 with the goal of eliminating terrorist threats in the region.
The Turkish military uses the term "neutralized" in reference to terrorists captured dead or alive, or those who surrender during the operations. However, the term is usually used for the terrorists who have been killed in the operations.
In a statement, the military said that 103 PKK-linked People's Protection Units (YPG), Democratic Union Party (PYD) and Daesh terrorists have been "neutralized" Monday, bringing the total number of terrorists neutralized since the beginning of the operation to 1,369.
Airstrikes have also destroyed 15 targets used by the terrorists, including shelters, hideouts, ammunition depots and weapons emplacements, the military added. It added that a total of 627 PKK/PYD/YPG targets were destroyed in airstrikes since the operation began.
Fighter jets have safely returned to their bases following the airstrikes, and the operation is proceeding as planned, the military said.
In a separate statement, the TSK announced that a total of 31 Turkish soldiers have been killed in action and 143 wounded, none with life-threatening injuries, 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.
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