950 sq km under control in Afrin op: Turkish president

12 March, 2018, 10:45 | Author: Mable Gonzales
  • At least seven suspects held in Turkey for PKK terror propaganda

The Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) and Free Syrian Army (FSA) fighters are now only five kilometers away from the Afrin city center, as Turkey's Operation Olive Branch enters its 50th day.

Erdogan said that the ongoing operation is not to "occupy" the region but to liberate it from YPG/PKK and Daesh terrorists, and then hand it over to the people living there.

"In the Afrin region, the real owners of the lands have started to come back", he said.

YPG has been a key American ally in the fight against Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in Syria and the operation has raised tensions with Washington and European NATO powers.

Managing alliances in Syria has always been a struggle for the United States, as underscored by how often two US-armed allies end up directly fighting one another.

Erdoğan said North Atlantic Treaty Organisation member Turkey sent troops to conflict zones when requested - giving the examples of Somalia, Afghanistan and the Balkan region - but did not receive necessary support for its Afrin mission in return.

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Erdogan is referring to the NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) vow that member states make to one another, known as Article 5: that an attack against any member state will be considered an attack against all member states, and will draw an immediate and mutual response. NATO, Turkey is not a NATO country?

Since the beginning of the operation, Turkish and Free Syrian Army forces have liberated 176 locations, including five town centers, 140 villages, and 31 strategic areas.

So far, 3,213 "terrorists" have been killed during the operation, carried out by Turkish troops and affiliated Free Syrian Army (FSA) militants, Erdogan stated.

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 military also said, "utmost importance" is being placed on not harming any civilians.


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