At least 2,960 terrorists have been "neutralized" and two more villages have been liberated from PKK-linked People's Protection Units (YPG), Daesh terrorists in Operation Olive Branch in Syria's Afrin, the Turkish military said Wednesday.
The Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) 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.
The Turkish military and the Free Syrian Army (FSA) liberated the strategically important Kafr Jana village located on the main road between the towns of Azaz and Afrin, clearing the village of Mashalah later in the day.
Turkish soldiers and the FSA fighters also captured Maydanki Dam, nearby the Hallubi Kabir village located northeast of Afrin town center in Syria.
In the southwest, heavy clashes continue in areas surrounding Jandaris, the last major town controlled by the YPG aside from Afrin town center.
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.