Defense Minister Nurettin Canikli on Tuesday paid a visit to a military command center in the southern border province of Hatay tasked with running Turkey's ongoing Operation Olive Branch, according to an Anadolu Agency correspondent on the ground.
Canikli was accompanied by Defense Ministry Undersecretary Ali Fidan and other ministry officials during the visit to the command center.
Lt. Gen. Ismail Metin Temel, the Second Army commander who is in charge of Operation Olive Branch, updated Canikli on the progress of the operation, which is in its 44th day.
Canikli also visited a hospital where Turkish troops and Free Syrian Army (FSA) fighters wounded during the operation undergo medical treatment.
Turkey on Jan. 20 launched Operation Olive Branch to remove YPG/PKK and Daesh terrorists from Afrin.
According to the Turkish General Staff, the operation aims to establish security and stability along Turkey's borders and the region as well as protect Syrians from terrorist oppression and cruelty.
The operation is being carried out under the framework of Turkey's rights based on international law, U.N. Security Council resolutions, its self-defense rights under the U.N. charter, and respect for Syria's territorial integrity.
Both the military and Turkish authorities have repeatedly said that the operation targets only terrorist elements and "utmost care" is being taken to avoid harming any civilians.