Turkish and Free Syrian Army (FSA) forces liberated Kudah Kuwi village, south of Raju, on Wednesday, and the village of Archali on late Tuesday from the PKK-affiliated People's Protection Units (YPG) in the Afrin region of northwestern Syria.
The villages marked the 55th place liberated from terrorists, which includes 37 villages and 14 strategic mountains and/or hills.
Turkey launched Operation Olive Branc
h on Jan. 20 to neutralize terrorist groups and provide security and stability along Turkey's southern borders with Syria as well as in the region.
The Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) said Wednesday that the number of neutralized terrorists since the beginning of the operation has reached 1,485. The Turkish army and FSA also found many anti-personnel landmines, which are banned by the Ottawa Treaty, in areas liberated from terrorists.
YPG terrorists and supporters of the terrorist group, meanwhile, have continued a smear campaign, misrepresenting more old photos posted on social media as if they came from Operation Olive Branch. They tried to portray children injured years ago in places far away as if they had been harmed in the operation.
YPG supporters posted a photo on a social media account showing Syrian regime soldiers in Hama, west-central Syria, as if it took place in Afrin, nearly 150 kilometers (93 miles) away.
A photo falsely labeled "Turkish Armed Forces are targeting children in Afrin" actually shows children injured by Assad regime attacks in eastern Ghouta, a suburb of the capital, Damascus.
Another photo posted on social media falsely labeled "Turkish military targeted children again in Afrin" actually comes from a July 2014 story titled "Children injured by regime attacks."
In yet another example, a photo purposely mislabeled "Stop Afrin genocide" shows an injured child who was actually injured in a July 2014 Israeli airstrike.
Meanwhile, Turkish celebrities, regular citizens and businesses rallied yesterday to express their love and support to the country's military on Valentine's Day amid Operation Olive Branch.
A campaign called "Gifts to Mehmetçik this year" quickly picked up the pace on social media as thousands pledged to join. "Mehmetçik" is a general term used affectionately to refer to the soldiers of the Turkish army.
Donations to the Mehmetçik Foundation have reportedly reached record levels. The Turkish Exporters' Assembly (TİM) launched a text-to-give campaign through which people can donate TL 10 ($2.63) to the Turkish military.
On the other hand, media reports said Russian private contractors were part of Assad regime forces that attacked U.S.-backed YPG-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) militants in the Deir el-Zour province in eastern Syria on Feb. 7, and faced a ferocious U.S. counterattack. At least four Russian citizens have been killed, according to their associates, and reports of more casualties have been trickling in, possibly adding up to as many as 200 Russian nationals.
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