Hundreds of Syrian protesters, carrying Turkish and Free Syrian Army flags, block a road between Azaz city and Sijo town in Aleppo and call Ankara to include Tel Rifaat in Operation Olive Branch.

Protesters carrying Free Syrian Army and Turkish flags block a road between Azaz city and Sijo town in Aleppo province of Syria on March 24, 2018.
Protesters carrying Free Syrian Army and Turkish flags block a road between Azaz city and Sijo town in Aleppo province of Syria on March 24, 2018. (AA)

Syrian residents of Tel Rifaat city in northern Aleppo province held a rally on Saturday demanding an Afrin-type Turkish military operation against the PKK-affiliated terrorist group in their town.

Protesters blocked the road between Azaz city and Sijo town and wanted Turkey to include Tel Rifaat in Operation Olive Branch. 

The demonstrators later reopened the road on the call of Turkish military personnel and local security forces.

In early 2016, the YPG terrorists took control of Afrin and surrounding villages with help from Russia and the Assad regime. 

Around 25,000 residents have been forced out from their homes and surrounding areas by the terrorist group and sought refuge in Azaz city.

The Turkish army shared a video from the rally on its Twitter account.

“People of Tel Rifaat who want their town to be cleared from terrorist organisations pour into the streets,” the Turkish army said in the tweet. 

People, some holding the Turkish flags can be seen in one of the squares in the video taken by a drone.

In an another tweet, the Turkish army shared pictures of the demonstration.

Aid supplies for Afrin

On Saturday, the Turkish General Staff said Afrin had been taken under “complete” control and efforts continue to help civilians return home in a secure way.

The Turkish Red Crescent also distributed hot meals to 15,000 people in the region on Saturday.

Talking to TRT World in Afrin, Turkish Red Crescent head Kerem Kinik said: "We have been providing 15,000 cooked meals twice daily. It means 30,000 cooked meals we are providing daily."

TRT World's Melinda Nucifora visited the town and has this report.

Turkey launched its Operation Olive Branch on January 20 to clear terrorist groups from Afrin in northwestern Syria amid growing threats from the region.

On March 18, Turkish-backed troops liberated the town of Afrin, which had been a major hideout for the YPG terrorists since 2012.

The YPG is the Syrian branch of the PKK, which is responsible for over 40,000 deaths, and has carried out a violent campaign against Turkey for more than 30 years.

The PKK has been listed as a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the US and the European Union.

The operation is being carried out under the framework of Turkey's rights based on international law, UN Security Council resolutions, its self-defence rights under the UN charter, and respect for Syria's territorial integrity, according to the Turkish military.

The military also said only terror targets are being destroyed and "utmost care" is being taken to not harm civilians.

Source: AA