Turkey, FSA liberate two more villages in Syria's Afrin

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Turkish military and Free Syrian Army (FSA) have cleared Qude village of PKK-linked People's Protection Units (YPG) terrorists as Operation Olive Branch in northwestern Syria's Afrin continues, Anadolu Agency correspondents in the region said Wednesday.

Turkish and FSA forces on Tuesday liberated Archali village from YPG terrorists in northwestern Syria's Afrin region.

Since the beginning of the operation, Turkish Armed Forces and Free Syrian Army have captured 54 different strategic areas from terrorists, including a town center, three rural areas and 36 villages.

The Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) said Wednesday that the number of "neutralized" terrorists since the beginning of the operation reached 1,485.

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.

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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