Turkey announced that it had launched "Operation Olive Branch" on January 20 to clear Syria's Afrin region of the YPG/PKK and Daesh, which Turkey considers to be a threat to its national security. TRT World has the latest updates on the operation.
Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch at 14:00 GMT on January 20 to clear Syria's Afrin region of the YPG/PKK, after months of warnings on the issue.
The operation started days after the US announced the formation of a 30,000-strong "Border Security Force" composed of YPG/SDF militants near Turkey's border in northern Syria.
The announcement was met with alarm by Ankara, which considers the YPG to be the Syrian branch of the PKK, which is a designated terrorist organisation in Turkey, the US and the EU.
Turkey’s biggest security concern is the YPG carving out an autonomous territory near its southeastern border.
The US supports the SDF, a YPG-dominated group it founded in 2015, in northeast Syria. Afrin, on the northwest, has no such support from the US but a couple hundred of Russian soldiers are based in the region.
TRT World has the latest on the operation:
Day 31 of Turkey's Operation Olive Branch in Afrin
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on the phone.
Both leaders exchanged views about recent developments in Idlib and ongoing Olive Branch operation in Afrin.
The Turkish military, Free Syrian Army took Hantalli and Divan Tahtani villages form YPG/PKK, Anadolu Agency reported.
The Turkish military, Free Syrian Army took Nebi Huri hill Sheran region form YPG/PKK during Operation Olive Branch in Afrin, Anadolu Agency reported.
Turkey's Foreign Minister Cavusoglu says in a press conference that it is the reason behind the regime entering Afrin, if it does, is important.
"If the regime enters here [Afrin] to clear it of the YPG/PKK, then there is no problem. But if the regime enters here to protect the YPG, then nothing can stop us, the Turkish army. This goes for Afrin, as well as Manbij. and the east of the Euphrates."
Reuters reports via the Syrian regime's Ikhbariya channel that pro-Syrian regime forces are set to enter northwestern Syria’s Afrin region “within hours”.
Iran understands Turkish concerns over plans of the US in the region, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.
Speaking at the Discussion Club Valday in Moscow, Zarif said: “Concerns of our Turkish neighboUrs about the US plans in the region can be understood and we need to deal with these concerns. And it is best to do this legally through the Syrian government.”
He also called the US attempt to use the Kurdish factor in Syria as “short-sighted”.
About the Iranian military bases in Syria, he said: “No, we don’t have any.”
The Turkish military, Free Syrian Army cleared three more villages (Ikidam, Sheltah ve Merseva) from YPG/PKK terrorists during Operation Olive Branch in Afrin.
Turkish Armed Forces say 1,641 terrorists "neutralised" since the start of Operation Olive Branch.
The Turkish army often uses the word "neutralised" in its statements to imply the militants were either killed, wounded or captured.
Day 30 of Turkey's Operation Olive Branch in Afrin
Turkish and Free Syrian Army forces clear villages of Dervish Ubashi, lower Hecika and Hecika from PYD/PKK terrorists.
Turkish security forces hit terror targets in northwestern Syria's Afrin region within range of southern Turkish border districts of Hatay, Anadolu Agency's correspondents on the ground said.
Turkish Armed Forces targeted YPG/PKK positions within sight of Hatay’s Reyhanli, Hassa, and Kirikhan districts.
Turkish army also continued to deploy military vehicles at the border close to the operation area.
In a daily briefing, Turkish military announced that the number of the terrorists neutralised since start of Operation Olive Branch in Syria's Afrin region rises to 1,614.
Turkish army often use the word "neutralised" in its statements to imply the militants were either killed, wounded or captured.
Day 29 of Turkey's Operation Olive Branch in Afrin
In a statement, the General Staff said that one more soldier was killed during Operation Olive Branch. The total number of soldiers killed during the operation has risen to 32.
Up to four rockets fired by YPG/PKK terror group hit Turkey’s border province of Kilis.
The rockets landed in a vacant area near the village of Kocabeyli. No casualties were reported.
Turkish military says the number of the terrorists neutralised since start of Operation Olive Branch in Afrin, northwestern Syria rises to 1,595.
It also added that 674 targets belonged to PKK-linked terror groups and Daesh have been destroyed in air strikes since the start of the operation.
Day 28 of Turkey's Operation Olive Branch in Afrin
Turkish armed forces have shelled YPG/PKK positions across the border of Reyhanli, Kirikhan and Hassa districts of Hatay province which terrorists use them to fire rockets against Turkey.
Turkish army and Free Syrian Army (FSA) on Friday liberated two more villages in northwestern Syria from the control of YPG/PKK.
According to Anadolu Agency correspondents on the ground, the villages of Hassan Kalkawi and Jalma near Raju town in Afrin were cleared from terrorists.
Following the meeting of Turkish and American chief diplomats, US-Turkey joint statement: Decisively stand against attempts to create faits accomplis and demographic changes within Syria.
“We clearly expressed [to the U.S. side] our expectations with regard to the fight against FETO and the PKK terrorist organisations and the U.S. support for the YPG,” said Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu.
Turkish military says 1,551 terrorists have been 'neutralised' since the onset of the operation.
Day 27 of Turkey's Operation Olive Branch in Afrin
Seven Turkish soldiers were injured during the ongoing operation in Afrin, according to a Turkish General Staff statement.
The statement said the soldiers were injured in two different clashes.
The military also wished a speedy recovery to the wounded soldiers.
Turkish military and Free Syrian Army liberated six more villages of YPG/PKK terror group during the day.
According to Anadolu Agency correspondents on the ground, the names of the villages are Kharab Summak, Diwan Al Fawqani, Karri, Sharbanli, Shadia, Durakli.
Since the beginning of the operation, 62 different strategic areas have been captured from the terrorists.
They include a town center, 41 villages, three rural areas and 17 strategic mountains or hills.
The Turkish military, Free Syrian Army cleared Harab Summak village of YPG/PKK during Operation Olive Branch in Syria's Afrin.
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the United States had "never given heavy arms" to the YPG militia and there was, therefore "nothing to take back".
Turkish military and Free Syrian Army forces freed the village of Durakli in the town of Bulbul in northern Afrin on Thursday, according to Anadolu Agency correspondents on the ground.
Since the beginning of the operation, 55 different strategic areas have been captured from the YPG/PKK, among them a town centre, 37 villages, three rural areas and 14 strategic mountains or hills.
US Defense Secretary Mattis says the US stands with Turkey on its legitimate security concerns and the two countries maintain an open and honest dialogue.
Turkish Defence Minister Nurettin Canikli says he shared documents with his US counterpart James Mattis, showing that the YPG is an "organic part of the terrorist PKK [organisation]."
He said on Thursday he had told Mattis that the Syrian Kurdish YPG should be removed from the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), the militia that Washington is backing in the fight against Daesh. Canikli, in a briefing to reporters in Brussels after meeting with the US Defense Secretary, also said he disputed Mattis' characterisation of the SDF as dominated by Arabs, saying the militia was completely controlled by the YPG.
He also said that Mattis told him that the US can separate the PKK from the YPG and that they can force the YPG to fight the PKK. Canikli considers the suggestion as “unrealistic.”
“The US support for the YPG strengthens the PKK as well, and that creates a threat for Turkey’s national security… Mr. Mattis told me that the US would support Turkey’s fight against this terror group in Iraq [PKK]… He also told me that the US doesn’t provide any weapons and ammunition for terror groups in Afrin against Turkey, and the weapons used by the group are not American-made. We continue to work on detecting who provided those weapons to the YPG… For the last three days we have been holding meetings on the Operation Olive Branch. There has been no request from any of the countries to stop our operation.
As the operation in Afrin continues, a number of Turkish troops is based in Idlib in order to set up the sixth observation point, Turkish army announces.
Turkish military says 1,528 terrorists have been 'neutralized' since the onset of the operation.
US Defense Ministry statement on Mattis' meeting with Canikli on Wednesday says that Mattis called for "a renewed focus on the campaign to defeat ISIS [Daesh]," according to Reuters.
Day 26 of Turkey's Operation Olive Branch in Afrin
Turkish Defense Minister Nurettin Canikli and US Secretary of Defense James Mattis met in Brussels to discuss Turkey's Afrin operation on the sidelines of NATO defense ministers' meeting.
Turkish army and Free Syrian Army have cleared northwestern Qude village of YPG/PKK during Operation Olive Branch in Syria's Afrin, Anadolu Agency reported.
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that he hoped to discuss how to work cooperatively to lessen threats to Turkey with his Turkish counterpart during his visit to Ankara on Thursday.
Ankara is concerned about Washington's support to the YPG which it considers a threat to its national security.
Turkish army announced the number of YPG/PKK and Daesh terrorists that have been neutralised during the Operation Olive Branch is 1,485.
US Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats expressed concern over Turkey's ongoing military operation in Syria.
He said Turkey will seek to thwart "Kurdish ambitions" in the Middle East and claimed its current operation is "complicating" ongoing counter-Daesh activities in the region.
Day 25 of Turkey's Operation Olive Branch in Afrin
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz discussed bilateral relations and issues concerning Syria in a phone call.
During the call, Erdogan discussed Turkey's ongoing Operation Olive Branch in Syria's Afrin province against YPG/PKK and Daesh terrorists.
The Saudi King expressed support for the Geneva process and international efforts regarding the Syria matter while President Erdogan said the Astana process and Sochi Congress are essential parts of the Geneva talks.
US Intelligence Community released its report on the Worldwide Threat Assessment, where they call the YPG Syrian militia of the PKK:
"Kurdish People’s Protection Unit—the Syrian militia of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK)—probably will seek some form of autonomy but will face resistance from Russia, Iran, and Turkey."
Turkish military and Free Syrian Army have cleared Arshali village in the west of Afrin from the YPG/PKK, Anadolu Agency reported.
NATO's Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that Turkey has legitimate security concerns to defend itself and they expect to continue to brief the Alliance about its military operations in Syria.
"No NATO ally has suffered more terrorist attacks than Turkey and of course they have the right to address these security concerns. But they should do that in a proportionate and measured way," Stoltenberg added.
Any attempts to found a state along Turkey’s borders will end in failure, said Turkey’s prime minister.
Turkey will eliminate all threats along its borders “wherever they come from,” Binali Yildirim told the governing Justice and Development (AK) Party Provincial Congress in the eastern Erzincan province.
“Those who want to found a state along our borders will be disappointed,” he said.
Referring to the YPG/PKK, the focus of the current Turkish-led operation in Afrin, northwestern Syria, along Turkey’s borders, Yildirim called on the US “to cut its support to those murderers [YPG/PKK] and stop giving them weapons.”
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says the US decision to give financial support to the YPG/PKK will affect Ankara's decisions, referring to Pentagon's 2019 budget that would provide 550 million dollars to the SDF/YPG/PKK. He adds that the US should act responsibly within NATO alliance.
Regarding the critics against civilians, Erdogan said: If we were not mindful of civilians we would have levelled Afrin to the ground, and already taken it.
The US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says that Washington was keenly aware of Turkey's security concerns but remained concerned over recent events in Syria's Afrin region.
Tillerson made his comments in Jordan's Amman before his visit to Ankara in which he is scheduled to meet with high Turkish officials to talk about recent developments in Syria and bilateral relations.
Turkish army announced the number of YPG terrorists that have been neutralised during the Operation Olive Branch is 1,439.
Day 24 of Turkey's Operation Olive Branch in Afrin
The Pentagon has allocated 550 million dollars in its 2019 budget for the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) which dominated by the YPG/PKK, Anadolu Agency reported.
$300 million will be used for their train and equip program and $250 million will be used for border security forces that previously was established.
Turkish armed forces and Free Syrian Army have cleared Muhammadiyah village from YPG/PKK in western Afrin as a part of Operation Olive Branch.
Turkish army also said that they have destroyed 627 positions belonging to the YPG since the beginning the operation.
It added that 31 Turkish soldiers have been killed while 143 soldiers injured during the operation.
"Our expectations from the United States are clear. We don't want assurances anymore; we want concrete steps. Either we restore our relations, or they will completely break down," Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said.
Turkish interior ministry said that 474 people were detained for promoting the YPG/PKK on their social media accounts, and 192 people for attending the protests against the Turkish military's operation in Afrin since the operation started, Anadolu Agency reported on Monday.
Turkish military declares a total of 1,369 terrorists 'neutralised' since the beginning of Operation Olive Branch in Syria's Afrin.
Turkish army often use the word "neutralised" in its statements to imply the militants were either killed, wounded or captured.
Day 23 of Turkey's Operation Olive Branch in Afrin
Turkey has sent more reinforcements to its southern border, as Operation Olive Branch enters its fourth week.
Dozens of tanks were seen moving towards the region inTurkey's Hatay province. They're expected to be deployed in Syria's Afrin region.
Turkish soldiers and Free Syrian Army (FSA) fighters have cleared Serincek village in Syria's northwestern Afrin region of YPG/PKK terrorists.
The development came after Turkish military and the FSA liberated Hec Iskendere village in Afrin.
At least 1,266 YPG/PKK and Daesh terrorists have been "neutralised" since the beginning of Operation Olive Branch in the Afrin region, the Turkish military said on Sunday.
Turkish army often use the word "neutralised" in its statements to imply the militants were either killed, wounded or captured.
Day 22 of Turkey's Operation Olive Branch in Afrin
At least 11 Turkish soldiers were killed in separate incidents on Saturday, Turkish military said, in the deadliest day since Operation Olive Branch that began on January 20.
The Turkish Armed Forces statement said that two soldiers were killed when a military helicopter went down, while nine other soldiers were killed in separate clashes in Afrin region. Eleven soldiers were wounded in the fighting.
At least 39 YPG/PKK and Daesh terrorists were "neutralised" during Saturday's operation, the statement said.
Turkish authorities often use the word "neutralised" in their statements to imply the militants were either killed, wounded or captured.
Turkish Armed Forces statement says three of its members were killed and five wounded during Operation Olive Branch on Saturday.
The statement added that Turkish Armed Forces had "neutralised" 15 PKK/YPG/KCK and Daesh terrorists within the scope of Operation Olive Branch.
Turkish soldiers and Free Syrian Army (FSA) fighters on Saturday captured Deir Ballut village in western Afrin from YPG/PKK terrorists during the ongoing military operation in northwestern Syria.
Since the operation began, Turkish forces and the FSA have liberated a total of 47 zones, including 30 villages and 13 strategic mountains or hills.
A Turkish military helicopter was downed in southern Hatay province during Operation Olive Branch in Syria's Afrin region, according to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
President Erdogan further said that the perpetrators will pay a heavy price for downing the Turkish helicopter.
At least 1,141 YPG/PKK or Daesh terrorists have been "neutralised" since the beginning of Operation Olive Branch in Syria's Afrin, the Turkish military said on Saturday.
Turkish authorities often use the word "neutralised" in their statements to imply the militants were either killed, wounded or captured.
Day 21 of Turkey's Operation Olive Branch in Afrin
The governing Justice and Development (AK) Party spokesman confirmed that 400 Daesh prisoners had been released in northern Syria to fight Turkey.
"It is confirmed that 400 Daesh prisoners in Raqqa, Afrin and Deir Ezzor were released on the condition that they will fight against Turkey," Mahir Unal said at a news conference. following a Central Decision and Executive Board meeting of the AK Party.
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will press Turkey to rein in its military operation in northern Syria during a visit to the NATO ally next week, a senior US official said.
"That's going to be a difficult conversation," the official told reporters in a briefing about Tillerson's Feb. 11-16 trip to Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon, Egypt and Kuwait.
Speaking of US-Turkish relations, he added: "Look it's difficult. The rhetoric is hot. The Turks are angry, and this is a difficult time to do business but it's our belief that there are still some very fundamental underlying shared interests."
Turkey's Foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said that there are many countries that support the YPG besides the US.
"When we started Operation Euphrates Shield against Daesh, none said to be careful on civilians or to keep the operation short. But when we launched the operation against the YPG/PKK, they started to say "Okay, we understand your security concerns but watch out for civilians, keep it short, this and that. They also started making black propaganda," Cavusoglu said.
The Turkish military and Free Syrian Army liberated five villages from the PKK-related YPG terror group.
So far in the ongoing operation, a total of 46 zones, including 29 villages and 13 strategic mountains and hills have been cleared from terrorists.
The Turkish military said 19 PKK/YPG terrorist targets destroyed in air strikes in Syria's Afrin.
It also said that 1062 terrorists had 'neutralised' since the operation started.
Turkish warplanes resumed strikes on YPG targets in Syria's Afrin region on Thursday after a five-day lull that followed the shooting down of Russian warplane in Syria's Idlib, another region in the south of Afrin which is controlled by the opposition groups and al Qaeda affiliated Hayat Tahrir al Sham.
Turkey had halted its air strikes as Russia worked on its air defence system after Syrian rebels shot down a Russian warplane in Idlib on Feb. 3.
Day 20 of Turkey's Operation Olive Branch in Afrin
Turkish Air Forces launched air raids on Mount Baflune, southwestern of Mount Bursaya which is under the control of Turkish Armed Forces and Free Syrian Army units (FSA).
Turkish warplanes hit six targets of the YPG/PKK terror group during the air operation, according to the Anadolu Agency.
US Defense Minister Jim Mattis announced that he will meet with his Turkish counterpart Nurettin Canikli next week.
Mattis also stressed that there is continuation of a pressure by Turkey for Manbij but the situation has not changed at the moment.
Turkey’s former Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on an exclusive interview with TRT World asks the US to be empathetic to Turkey’s security concerns and compares how Washington would act to a country that supports a terrorist organisation on its borders.
Turkish European Union Minister Omer Celik denounced the bloc's comment over Turkish border mission in Afrin against terrorists.
Celik said that Ankara is using its right to self-defence which is provided by international law.
"The EU is showing sympathy to terrorist organisations," mentioning the groups that don't attack Europe.
The Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB) and 356 member chambers and commodity exchanges expressed their support of Turkey's Operation Olive Branch in Afrin.
Speaking at an event at the presidential palace, Erdogan strongly rejects the calls of the main opposition leader to establish contact with Syria’s Assad.
"What do have to talk about with a murderer who killed one million of his own citizens?" he asked. "Assad has created a terror state, and he continues to kill people."
Turkey's Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy responds to French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian's statement claiming that Turkey had targeted civilians in the operation and “violated international law.”
“Our country is determined to use its legitimate right to self-defence to the furthest extent,” Aksoy said in a written statement.
“We expect our allies to take part in the fight against terrorist organizations in Afrin and not fall in a position that supports terrorist organizations with the steps they take and the words they utter.”
“The operation Turkey is conducting, contrary to the claims of the French minister, is preventing the addition of a new war to the war in Syria. We expect our allies to see this fact,” Aksoy added.
Visiting a YPG outpost in northern Syria, senior US commanders have pledged that their troops would remain in the northern Syrian town of Manbij despite Turkey's demands for a US pullout.
"I can't speak to Turkey's intentions. What I do know is that our presence here has enabled this area to be stable. So our senior leadership, Secretary (of State Rex) Tillerson has laid out our end-state for Syria most recently, and so we need to stay here until that political environment is stable and our security here, our presence here provides that level of stabilization and brings security," said Major General Jamie Jarrord, US Army special forces.
Turkey's President Erdogan, in a phone call with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, discusses the latest situation in Syria's Afrin and Idlib. They agree to speed up the establishment of more observation points in the Idlib de-escalation zone.
They also agree to hold another Syria summit between Turkey, Russia and Iran in Istanbul. Russia's Sochi hosted the first summit.
The Turkish Armed Forces say 1028 terrorists have been 'neutralised' since the start of the operation.
Day 19 of Turkey's Operation Olive Branch in Afrin
An attack conducted by the YPG/PKK terrorist organisation in Afrin region against Turkish Armed Forces killed two soldiers and injured eleven.
The attack occurred where Turkish forces cleared Sheikh Horuz village of militants. The number of the Turkish soldiers that is killed in Afrin operation raised to 19.
Turkish army and Free Syrian Army have taken control of Sheikh Horuz village in northern Afrin as part of Operation Olive Branch, Anadolu Agency reported.
The Turkish forces and FSA have cleared a total of 40 zones, including 24 villages and 12 strategic mountains or hills from the YPG since the onset of Operation Olive Branch.
The YPG positions located cross-border of Turkey's Hatay province are under heavy bombardment by Turkish army, Anadolu Agency reported.
Military helicopters are also conducting aerial support to the tanks where many military vehicles and units were dispatched in the borderline.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has visited Tehran and met with his Iranian counterpart Javad Zarif. Two ministers discussed the latest developments in Afrin and Idlib.
Later, Cavusoglu met with Iranian President Rouhani. After their meeting, Iranian President's office released a statement, saying that Cavusoglu had told them Turkey aimed to fight against terrorist groups in Syria, and had underlined the importance of country's territorial integrity.
Turkey's Presidential Spokesman Ibrahim Kalin confirmed the visit of National Security Advisor HR McMaster to Ankara over the weekend to discuss Turkey’s Operation Olive Branch and Manbij as Washington is standing as the main supporter of the YPG.
He also confirmed US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's visit which is scheduled for February 15 in Ankara. During the visit, Ankara will ask Washington to halt support for the YPG and take the provided arms back.
The spokesman also said that they have not contacted with the Syrian regime during the operation and "currently there is no question of establishing any such contact [with regime]."
Regarding Iran's comments against Turkey's operation, Kalin said Ankara expects friends, allies and neighbouring countries to be empathetic to Turkey's priorities and interests.
"Because we always have this attitude (empathetic) when it comes to such a terrorist attack or threat against those countries. It is our natural right to expect the same attitude from them," the spokesman added.
Turkish army said in a press release that 29 YPG/PKK, Daesh terrorists had been 'neutralised' on Wednesday.
The number of neutralised YPG/PKK, Daesh members raised to 999 since the beginning of the operation, the army said.
Turkish forces have prevented a suicide attack by a YPG/PKK member who was trying to blow a bomb-loaded truck near Free Syrian Army positions, Anadolu Agency reported.
A Turkish military tank destroying the truck was filmed which shows a huge fire have raised from the vehicle.
The United Nations voiced the dire consequences of the compounded humanitarian crisis in Afrin, Raqqa, al Hassakeh and several parts of the country, said UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator and UN Representatives in Syria in a statement.
Related to Afrin, the UN says ongoing military operations, on one hand, and the reported blockage of exits by other forces [YPG], on the other hand, have virtually trapped many civilians preventing them from accessing safer areas, the statement said.
"So far, 380 families have reached surrounding villages and Aleppo neighbourhoods while thousands of people have been displaced within Afrin. As the fighting escalates, the number of civilians affected by violence is bound to increase," it added.
Day 18 of Turkey's Operation Olive Branch in Afrin
The European Union (EU) understands Turkey's security concerns and fight against terrorism but it could derail a political solution to the conflict in Syria, said the bloc's chief of diplomacy Frederica Mogherini.
“The Afrin offensive could have political consequences on the internal balances inside the future Syria at large and on the potential of political negotiations because the new escalation of violence can push away the chances for a political solution to the conflict,” said Mogherini, the High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.
“We need to concentrate all of us in supporting the UN-lead negotiations in Geneva. The war in Syria is not over yet,” she added during a speech in the discussion at the European Parliament in Strasbourg.
Three civilians were killed and 15 others were injured when the YPG/PKK shelled a refugee camp—set by Turkey's Disaster and Emergency Management Authority in Syria—in Idlib province in northwestern Syria, Prime Minister's office said.
They fired a mortar shell from Jindaras area in northwestern Afrin into the Atma refugee camp in Idlib, according to the Anadolu Agency correspondent in Atma village.
The YPG/PKK sent an estimated 500 terrorists from Syria's Hasakah and Ain al Arab (Kobani) areas to Afrin under the guise of "civilian solidarity visits", sources in Afrin and Hasakah told to Anadolu Agency.
The sources, whose names have been withheld due to security concerns, said that numerous individuals had left the YPG-held Qamishli, Darbasiyah, Malikiya, Hasakah and Kathaniya settlements on Monday for Ain al Arab near Syria’s border with Turkey. They merged with other YPG members in Ain al Arab and moved to Afrin later at night.
Last week, the group had announced plans to arrange a "civilian solidarity convoy" from YPG-held region of northern Syria to Afrin.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the US troops should leave Syria’s Manbij as Turkey aims to return the region ‘to its true owners.’
Erdogan said that majority of population in Manbij was Arabs and the city was occupied by the YPG/PKK.
Erdogan urged Washington to explain why it is not taking arms back from the YPG in northern Syria, saying a failure to do so means the US is either 'planning something against us or Russia or Iran.'
At least 10 people were arrested for promoting the YPG/PKK on their social media accounts, according to a police source, Anadolu Agency said.
Anti-terror squads conducted simultaneous operations in the Kulu and Karapinar districts of central Konya province, the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said.
"The suspects allegedly voiced their support for the terrorist groups YPG/PKK and spread black propaganda against the ongoing Operation Olive Branch in Syria’s northwestern Afrin region," the source added.
Total of 970 terrorists 'neutralised' since the beginning of the Operation Olive Branch in Syria, Turkish Armed Forces said in a statement.
Turkish army also informed 23 terrorists have been 'neutralised' during the ongoing operations on Tuesday.
Day 17 of Turkey's Operation Olive Branch in Afrin
Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag denounced news reports about a Russian restriction of using Syrian airspace for Ankara.
He said that there was no problem with the use of Syria's airspace for Afrin region.
"We are effectively using aircrafts in operation," Bozdag said.
Turkish Armed Forces and the Free Syrian Army have cleared another village and a hill from terrorists that were under the YPG control, Anadolu Agency reported.
Surgeys hill and the village Amude (Dikmetash) is located in the eastern site of Afrin, near Azaz.
A Turkish soldier killed by the YPG terrorists by a mortar attack in Kuri area outskirts of the Afrin region, Turkish armed forces said.
A total of 16 Turkish soldiers have been killed since the beginning of the operation.
Turkey released on probation of all eleven executives of the Turkish Medical Association (TTB) that were taken into custody last week after they denounced Operation Olive Branch.
Turkey’s Health Ministry previously had sued the TTB for conducting “activities outside of its remit” and called for the suspension of the activities of the association’s central council.
Turkish armed forces said that the YPG terrorists have hit another Turkish tank near the Darmik mountain in Syria's Afrin region. There were no casualties and only the tank was slightly damaged, it added.
Turkish troops and Free Syrian Army forces have captured Sourkeh village of PKK/YPG terrorists in northwestern Syria, near the Turkish border.
Since the beginning of the operation, 35 different strategic areas have been cleared from the terror groups.
Turkish military says it has neutralised 12 terrorists of PKK/YPG and Daesh terror groups.
The figures raise the number of terrorists neutralised during the operation to 947. The military generally uses the term "neutralise" to signify that the targets were killed, captured or surrendered.
Day 16 of Turkey's Operation Olive Branch in Afrin
Turkish troops and Free Syrian Army have liberated Haj Bilal village of PKK/YPG in western Afrin, Syria.
The village marks the 32nd location that has been cleared from terrorists so far.
A town center, 21 villages, one rural settlement and nine strategic hills are among the locations liberated.
Turkish soldiers and Free Syrian Army fighters have liberated the Haruz Hill in northern Afrin, from the occupation of PKK/YPG terror group.
The Bulbul town center was secured after the capture of Haruz hill, Turkish security sources told Anadolu Agency, adding the operations against terror targets nearby were ongoing.
Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag said if the PKK/YPG terror group does not leave Syria's strategic Manbij, Turkey will move there and towards east of Euphrates River.
Manbij is located at 30 km south of Turkish border and currently controlled by the PKK/YPG.
Turkish military announced in its daily briefing that it has neutralised 35 terrorists and destroyed five targets used as arms depots and shelters by terror groups in Syria’s Afrin region.
Turkish Deputy Prime Minister and Government Spokesman Bekir Bozdag said in total 932 terrorists have been neutralised so far during Operation Olive Branch.
Day 15 of Turkey's Operation Olive Branch in Afrin
Turkey's President Erdogan holds a phone call with his French counterpart in which they discuss Operation Olive Branch and the outcome of the Syrian National Dialogue Congress held in the Russian coastal city of Sochi this past week.
President Erdogan also informed President Macron about the cross-border rocket attacks launched by the YPG/PKK terror organisation on Turkey's border provinces.
Five Turkish soldiers are killed when their tank was hit by an anti-tank missile in northwest Syria’s Afrin region, Turkey’s armed forces say.
It is important to mention that the US has been supplying arms and ammunition to the YPG, including anti-tank missiles.
One Turkish was also killed in clashes with YPG/PKK terror group while another was killed in an attack on the border area in Turkey's Kilis, the armed forces say.
The total death toll for Turkish troops since the start of operation now stands at 13.
The Turkish Armed Forces launch an air operation targeting terrorist shelters, hideouts and weapon depots in areas from which the YPG/PKK attacked a Turkish tank in Sheikh Haruz in northeast Afrin.
At least nine civilians are injured when the PKK/YPG terror group fired several missiles from Syria's Afrin on a marketplace in Azaz town near the Turkish border.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Turkish troops are getting closer to Afrin city center in a speech during the 6th Ordinary Provincial Congress Meeting of Turkey's ruling AK Party in Bitlis province of Turkey.
Turkish military says it has neutralised 74 PKK/ YPG and Daesh terrorists and destroyed 15 targets used as arms depots and shelter by the group members.
The military generally uses the term "neutralise" to signify that the targets were killed, captured or surrendered.
The latest figures increase the numbers of terrorists neutralised so far to 897 as Operation Olive Branch enters its third week.
Day 14 of Turkey's Operation Olive Branch in Afrin
AA reports that a PKK/YPG supporters attacked the car of a Turkish citizen with sticks, as about 600 PKK/YPG supporters were demonstrating in Lebenstedt district of Salzgitter province near the city centre.
Germany has experienced a growing number of radical protests and violence by PKK/YPG supporters since the group launched a campaign two weeks ago to protest Turkey’s Operation Olive Branch.
Turkish authorities said on Friday they have detained eight suspects in connection with a bomb blast which rocked the capital Ankara on Thursday and left three people injured.
A ninth suspect was killed during the operation to round up the group, they said.
The suspect who was killed had entered Turkey illegally and received training from a branch of the YPG/PKK, the governor's office said.
Two civilians were killed in Turkey on Friday in a rocket attack launched from the YPG/PKK controlled area in Syria.
Nineteen others were injured as six rockets landed in the Hatay province’s Reyhanli district, according to a press statement issued by Hatay governor's office. The rockets were aimed at civilians, as they hit a house and exploded near a market.
US and Turkey have talked about the YPG-controlled Manbij region in Syria, but they are not going to share details publicly, says US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.
Manbij is the area where US soldiers are stationed.
The US is making a mistake by aiding the YPG, an organisation in Syria “under the direct control” of the PKK, Serdar Kilic, Ankara's ambassador to Washington has said.
Since taking control of northwestern Syria, across the Turkish border, the terrorist YPG/PKK “started conducting attacks against Turkish territory and its civilians. In last year alone, they have conducted 700 attacks,” Kilic told the PBS Newshour late Thursday.
Turkish armed forces have captured and raised a Turkish flag on a strategic mountain, Darmik.
The YPG uses the mountain in Syria's Afrin region to launch rocket attacks on civilians in Turkey's border provinces of Hatay and Kilis.
The mountain has been cleared from terrorists following aerial and land operations.
Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said that five civilians lost their lives and more than 100 injured, plus damage to buildings, mosques in PYD/PKK rocket attacks so far.
Three rocket attacks targeted in the latest rockets attacks in Turkey’s two border towns, Reyhanli and Kilis, with Syria in a simultaneous attack launched from YPG-held Afrin.
One civilian was killed and 10 others were injured, one of whom in critical condition.
Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) announced that 823 terrorists 'neutralised' since the onset of Operation Olive Branch in Syria's Afrin region.
The military generally uses the term "neutralise" to signify that the targets were killed, captured or surrendered.
TAF also said that 6 PKK/KCK/PYD-YPG and Daesh positions have been destroyed by aerial bombardment overnight.
Day 13 of Turkey's Operation Olive Branch in Afrin
A high-ranking official from the US State Department told AA that the US saw the attacks by the YPG against Turkish citizens as unacceptable. "We are concerned about the death of the 17 year-old girl in Reyhanli as well as all civilian deaths."
"We call on all sides to exercise restraint and prevent civilian deaths."
Qatari Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al Thani says that Qatar supports any country that protects its border while referring to Turkey's Afrin operation.
"What’s happening in Afrin is done by coordination with other forces there," he said. "They [Turkey] are trying to protect their border and I think it's the right of any country to protect its border."
Jordanian Senate President Faisal al Fayez says that Turkey "wants to see a secure, stable, and unitary Syria," during a meeting of the Turkey-Jordan Friendship Commission.
Turkish Armed Forces say 21 terrorists have been "neutralised" and 14 positions of YPG/PKK and Daesh have been destroyed during day 13 of Operation Olive Branch.
The total number of terrorists that have been "neutralised" reaches 811.
The Pentagon condemns every YPG/PKK attack against Turkey, referring to the recent rocket attacks from Syria's Afrin region.
Canada is closely monitoring the situation in Afrin including its impact on civilians said Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Foreign Affairs.
“Canada recognises Turkey’s legitimate security concerns. However, we urge restraint and call for every possible effort to be made to protect civilians and fully respect international humanitarian law," the ministry issued in a statement.
Two rockets launched from YPG-held Afrin hits urban areas in Turkey's Kilis border town.
A rocket hit a historical restaurant which reportedly led to many casualties. The other one hit a building where residents were living.
A large number of security forces and ambulances were deployed to the area.
Two other rockets that were fired from Afrin in the morning also hit the urban areas which targeted civilian houses but there were no reported casualties.
The Syrian regime describes Turkey's operation against terrorists in Syria's Afrin region as an illegal "aggression" and said it would deal with it accordingly.
"The Turkish military operation in northern Syria is a blatant aggression," Reuters reported a regime foreign ministry statement which circulated on the regime media.
Turkish military and Free Syrian Army forces capture Bulbul town centre in northern Afrin, Syria from YPG.
Tunahan Kuzu, head of the Dutch Denk Party, tells AA that the political parties in the Netherlands need to open their eyes and see the reality of the YPG/PKK.
"By using symbols belonging to terror organisations in their demonstrations, PKK and YPG supporters provoke society (Turks) here and create tensions," he said.
A total of 800 terrorists have been killed in Syria's northwestern Afrin region as part of the operation, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said.
French President Macron, changing his earlier position on Turkey's operation, said at a press conference that "...the reaction of the Turkish foreign minister probably means that (the operation) is nothing more than to secure the border and that Turkey does not intend to go further than the positions which it occupies today or to stay in the region in the long-term."
His words came after a curt response from Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, who underlined that Turkey was using its right to self defence, and accused France of being two-faced.
"We consider a country like France giving us reminders about an operation we are carrying out in accordance with international laws to be insults."
"We are using our right to self defence, this is in line with UN Security Council decisions and not an invasion. They shouldn't be two-faced," he said.
Turkish and FSA forces cleared the village of Ali Kar, located in the northern Bulbul town of the YPG. This led them to take full control of a large zone in Afrin's north together with the previously cleared village of Shenkal and Zahran regions.
Day 12 of Turkey's Operation Olive Branch in Afrin
Rocket launched from YPG-held Afrin hits Turkey's Reyhanli border town, injuring one.
The fifth rocket on Wednesday fired from the YPG areas in Afrin and hit Reyhanli town of Hatay province.
Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu discussed the Afrin operation, developments in Iraq and Sochi meeting with his American counterpart Rex Tillerson on the phone.
Turkish and Russian presidents, in a phone call conversation, have reached a mutual understanding regarding their cooperation in Afrin operation, according to Turkish presidential sources.
They also agreed that Ankara should accelerate the deployment of Turkish military observers in the de-escalation zone in Idlib area, sources said.
The fourth rocket fired from the YPG areas in Afrin and hit Reyhanli town of Hatay province, wounded a civilian.
The third rocket fired from the YPG areas in Afrin and hit Reyhanli town of Hatay province.
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan discussed the recent developments in Idlib, Afrin and Sochi meeting with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on the phone.
Turkey's Prime Minister Binali Yildirim responded to critics regarding Turkish army's operation in Afrin, stating that the aim is to clean the region from terrorists.
"The whole world knows, and should know that Turkey has no invasion motive. The Operation Euphrates Shield proved it," he added.
French President Emmanuel Macron said Turkey’s operation against the YPG/PKK terror group in northern Syria should not become an excuse to invade the country and said he wanted Ankara to coordinate its action with its allies.
"If it turns out that this operation takes a turn other than to fight a potential terrorist threat to the Turkish border and becomes an invasion operation, (then) this becomes a real problem for us," Macon said in an interview with Le Figaro newspaper.
Turkish Armed Forces and Free Syrian Army have liberated the Baq Ubasi village in Afrin from the YPG/PKK terrorists, Anadolu Agency reported.
Following the rocket attacks from Afrin region, Turkish army is bombarding the YPG positions in Darmiq mountain.
Two rockets fired from the YPG positions in Afrin hit a house in Hatay's border town Reyhanli.
A large number of security forces were deployed following the explosion which reportedly killed a 17-year-old girl and wounded another civilian.
Since the start of the operation, Kilis, another border province with Syria, has been repeatedly hit by the YPG rockets which claimed two lives and wounded more than 20.
Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) announced that 712 terrorists 'neutralised' since the onset of Operation Olive Branch in Syria's Afrin region.
TAF also said that 22 PKK/KCK/PYD-YPG and Daesh positions have been destroyed by aerial bombardment in the 11th day of the operation.
Day 11 of Turkey's Operation Olive Branch in Afrin
Turkish Armed Forces and Free Syrian Army units have liberated al Qana village in western Afrin from PKK/YPG terrorists following an operation launched in the Raju district.
Twenty four areas have been cleared as of day 11 of Operation Olive Branch, launched on January 20.
Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) - dominated by the terrorist YPG/PKK has repositioned some of its forces in northern Syria amid a Turkish operation in the Afrin region, the Pentagon admitted Tuesday in an email to Anadolu Agency.
“We are aware the SDF has repositioned some forces in response to recent tensions, however, this was not under coalition direction,” Defense Department spokesman Maj. Adrian Rankine Galloway said.
Asked where the SDF forces have been repositioned, Galloway said: "I don't speak for the SDF.”
The Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) airdropped messages in three languages (Turkish, Arabic and Kurdish) in Afrin urging the public to take a stand against terrorists.
The note calls on people to work together to establish peace, trust, and prosperity to the region citing "Afrin belongs to the people of Afrin."
Turkish Air Forces (TAF) announced that they are not using any weapons restricted by international law such as napalm, chemical or biological ammunitions.
It also said that religious, cultural, historical and archaeological sites are not among targets and "the stories that are made by terrorists and their supporters" aim to undermine the international legitimacy of Afrin operation.
Turkish Armed Forces and the Free Syrian Army (FSA) took full control of the two villages in western Afrin, according to Anadolu Agency.
A rocket fired from the YPG positions in Afrin fell to an area full of olive trees in the border city of Kilis.
A large number of security forces were deployed following the explosion of the rocket which reportedly led no casualties.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu spoke about Sochi meeting, Operation Olive Branch and developing issues in Syria with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov on the phone, Russian Foreign Ministry stated.
Eleven executives of the Turkish Medical Association (TTB) who denounced Operation Olive Branch were taken into custody.
Turkey's Health Ministry on Monday sued the TTB for conducting "activities outside of its remit" and called for the suspension of the activities of the association's central council.
649 terrorists 'neutralised' since the onset of Operation Olive Branch in Syria: Turkish military.
Day 10 of Turkey's Operation Olive Branch in Afrin
Turkish Air Forces (TAF) announced that they are not using anything that is against the international law such as napalm, chemical or biological ammunitions.
Turkish military says religious, cultural, historical and archaeological sites are not among targets of Afrin operation adding that the news that is made by "terrorist groups and their supporters" aims to undermine international legitimacy.
Turkish Armed Forces said 597 terrorists have been killed during Operation Olive Branch in Afrin region.
Turkey's Interior Ministry statement said 311 suspects arrested so far for making terror propaganda on social media regarding Afrin operation.
Day nine of Turkey's Operation Olive Branch in Afrin
Turkish Armed Forces said on Sunday that 557 terrorists have been 'neutralised' as part of ongoing Operation Olive Branch in Syria.
Turkish Armed Forces and the Free Syrian Army (FSA) took full control of the Qestel Cindo village, located in south of Mount Bursaya, according to the FSA sources.
Turkish forces and FSA fighters have captured the strategic Bursaya mountain in Syria's Afrin region, Anadolu Agency reported on Sunday.
The mountain was used by YPG/PKK terrorists to launch rockets into Turkey's border town of Kilis.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday that the Turkish-led Operation Olive Branch will soon capture a strategic peak in Afrin used by YPG/PKK militants to launch cross-border attacks.
"I just talked with the commander. He said, 'I hope we will soon capture Mt. Bursaya as well'," he said in remarks during a rally in the central Corum province.
Heavy clashes erupted on Sunday between Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) fighters and YPG/PKK terrorists at Bursaya mountain in Afrin region, Anadolu Agency reported.
The terrorist group use the mountain to target civilians in the centre of Turkey's Kilis province and Syria's Azaz district through mortar shells, artillery, and missiles.
Turkish Armed Forces say that 484 terrorists have been "neutralised" in the on-going Operation Olive Branch so far.
Turkish military often uses the word "neutralised" in their statements to imply that the militants in Syria's Afrin region were either captured or killed.
The Turkish military said that five Turkish soldiers and 15 Free Syria Army (FSA) fighters have been killed so far in the Afrin campaign.
Day eight of Turkey's Operation Olive Branch in Afrin
Turkish Armed Forces say in a statement that 447 terrorists have so far been ‘neutralised’ in the on-going Operation Olive Branch in Syria's Afrin region.
Two civilians were injured when a rocket fired by YPG/PKK terrorists from Syria's Afrin region hit the roof of a five-story building in the Turkish border province of Kilis, Anadolu Agency reported.
Turkish military and fighters of Free Syrian Army (FSA) have freed Ali Bekki village in northwest of Afrin from YPG/PKK terrorists, according to Anadolu Agency.
Over 10 terrorists were "neutralised" during the campaign and a camp was seized, the news agency said.
US Security Adviser McMaster has confirmed that US will not give weapons to YPG/PKK terrorists, in a conversation with Turkish presidential spokesperson Ibrahim Kalin.
Kalin and McMaster spoke by phone on Friday evening, according to Anadolu Agency.
Both sides agreed on maintaining close coordination during Turkey's military operation in northern Syria "to prevent misunderstandings."
Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) said on Saturday that 394 terrorists have been "neutralised" since the beginning of operation in Afrin region.
TAF said that 340 YPG/PKK and Daesh targets were destroyed in the air strikes so far.
The Turkish military said that three Turkish soldiers were also killed and 30 others injured.
The week-long fighting also claimed lives of 13 Free Syria Army (FSA) fighters besides injuring 121 others.
Day seven of Turkey's Operation Olive Branch in Afrin
President Tayyip Erdogan promised to sweep militants from the length of Turkey's Syrian border.
He said that Ankara could extend the operation in northwest Syria all the way east to the border with Iraq.
Speaking to provincial leaders from his governing AK Party, Erdogan said that after its ongoing operation in Afrin, in Syria's northwest, Turkey would continue to the east, including the town of Manbij.
Turkey's Minister of Health Ahmet Demircan said three Turkish soldiers and 11 Turkey-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) fighters have been killed since the beginning of the operation.
Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) said at least 343 YPG/PKK terrorists have been killed since the beginning of operation in northwestern Afrin.
8. “Zeytin Dalı Harekâtı” kapsamında şu ana kadar bölgeden elde edilen bilgilere göre; en az 343 PKK/KCK/PYD-YPG ve DEAŞ terör örgütü mensubunun etkisiz hale getirildiği tespit edilmiştir.— TSK (@TSKGnkur) January 26, 2018
The Pentagon says that there was no crisis between Turkey and the US amid the Turkish Operation Olive Branch in Afrin, Syria.
“We're not in a crisis, Turkey is an ally, and we're going to work with them,” the Pentagon’s chief spokesperson Dana White told reporters.
“But this current -- this current issue, […], is a distraction. And we have to focus as allies and -- on the mission at hand, and that's defeating ISIS,” said White using a different acronym for terrorist group Daesh.
Day six of Turkey's Operation Olive Branch in Afrin
US State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert on Thursday answering a reporters question regarding Turkey's operation in Afrin said, " Turkey has taken eyes off ISIS (Daesh) and is going after PKK."
Turkey considers PYD/YPG as the Syrian offshoot of the PKK terror organisation.
At least 306 PKK/KCK/PYD-YPG and Daesh terrorists have been neutralized since the beginning of the Operation Olive Branch in northwestern Syria, the military said Thursday.
14 aircraft taking part in the operation returned to their bases after hitting 25 terrorist targets, the statement added.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited a military command centre in southern Hatay province on Thursday as the ongoing operation in northern Syria entered its sixth day, according to a presidential source.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Thursday said that it would not be right for Turkey and the United States to discuss a potential "safe zone" in Syria until trust issues between the two NATO allies are resolved.
Two rockets fired Thursday evening by PYD terrorists in northwestern Syria's Afrin hit an open area in Reyhanlı in Turkey's southern Hatay province near the border.
No casualties reported.
US-backed YPG terror group pleads to Assad regime to counter Turkey's Operation Olive Branch Operation.
"We call on the Syrian state to undertake its sovereign obligations and protect its borders with Turkey from the attacks," the terrorist group said according to Edward Dark, an Al-Monitor contributor in Aleppo.
Day five of Turkey's Operation Olive Branch in Afrin
President Erdogan and Qatar Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani discussed in a phone conversation Turkish military operation in Afrin, according to a presidential source.
Al-Thani said Qatar supported Turkey's fight against terrorism.
The two leaders also reaffirmed their commitment to developing bilateral relations.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and US President Donald Trump discussed the ongoing Turkish military operation in Afrin, Syria in a phone conversation.
Erdogan and Trump exchanged views on the latest developments in Syria and Operation Olive Branch launched by Turkey on Saturday which is aimed at fighting off threats from PYD/PKK and Daesh terrorist organisations, according to presidential sources.
President Erdogan also reiterated Ankara's request from Washington to stop providing arms to the PYD/YPG terrorists in Syria.
At least two civilians were killed and eleven others were injured when two rockets fired from Syria's Afrin by YPG/PKK terrorists hit a mosque and a house in the Turkish border province of Kilis, according to the provincial governor's website.
The Turkish General Staff says at least 287 PKK/KCK/PYD-YPG and Daesh terrorists have been neutralized since the beginning of the Operation Olive Branch in Syria.
Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said that Rex Tillerson has proposed to create a 30km “secure zone” in Syria’s Afrin to secure Turkey's border area, Anadolu Agency reported.
Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov discussed military operations in northern Syria with his American counterpart Rex Tillerson, Reuters reported.
Turkish premier Binali Yildirim says 214 targets were hit and destroyed as part of Operation Olive Branch in Syria's Afrin region.
Turkey's president Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Turkey will proceed with the operation until the last member of the YPG/PKK terrorist organisation — that has been provided with 50,00 trucks and 2,000 planes loaded with weapons by the US — is neutralised.
Erdogan also added that "the main aim of these operations is to send 3.5 million Syrian refugees back to their homes."
During the operation, three Turkish soldiers and at least seven FSA members have died, Erdogan said.
Successes in Operation Olive Branch will avert possible risks to Turkey's economy, said Finance Minister Naci Agbal.
US, British and German volunteers who have fought Daesh with YPG in Syria are in the Afrin region to wage battle against Turkey, an official with the YPG/PKK said.
"There was a desire on the part of the foreign fighters, who fought in Raqqa and who are fighting in Deir Ezzor, to go to Afrin," senior YPG/PKK member Redur Xelil told Reuters.
Turkish authorities detained 150 suspects for allegedly conducting terror propaganda through various social media accounts against the Turkish state and Operation Olive Branch in Syria's Afrin region, Anadolu Agency said.
An anti-terror operation was conducted in 31 cities across Turkey and 11 suspects were arrested. Three of the suspects were released under bail conditions, seven were freed and another 132 remain under investigation.
Eight terrorists belonging to the YPG/PKK were neutralised in Syria's Afrin region, the Turkish Armed Forces announced.
According to the statement, armed terrorists attempted to infiltrate and defeat Turkey's Operation Olive Branch.
Turkey would like to see the US cease their support for "a group that has been targeting Turkey for 30 years," says Turkish Presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin.
Speaking to CNN International, Kalin said that arming Turkey's enemies such as the PKK/YPG is the greatest issue straining relations between the two NATO allies.
Turkey arrests Daesh's so-called emir of health, Kefah Basheer Hussain, along with 12 other terrorists which two of them were on high-level warrant list, Anadolu Agency reports according to security sources.
Hussain said at the court that Daesh and the YPG/PKK conducted a ceasefire four months ago and they passed to Deir Ezzor under their trust.
Day four of Turkey's Operation Olive Branch in Afrin
Turkey’s Chief of General Staff: At least 260 terrorists belonging to the PKK/KCK/YPG and Daesh were neutralised during the Operation Olive Branch in Syria’s Afrin.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks to his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin over the phone about latest developments in Syria and the Operation Olive Branch in Afrin region.
Dutch Foreign Minister Halbe Zijlstra says Turkey has sufficient reasons to defend itself. “YPG is not innocent. The Dutch government never supported the YPG.”
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan tells his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron over the phone that all measures have been taken to prevent civilian casualties during Operation Olive Branch in Syria’s Afrin region.
Turkey’s governing (AK) party spokesman said that some Daesh members are shaving their beards and joining the fight against Turkey alongside the YPG.
“We know [from the Daesh-YPG deal] that many Daesh members have left Raqqa, and we know that they've shaved their beards and are fighting against Turkey at the forefront of the YPG/PKK,” Mahir Unal said.
Pentagon says the YPG militants in northeast Syria will lose US support if they move into Syria’s Afrin region.
Third Turkish soldier, Mehmet Muratdagi, has died during Turkey's Operation Olive Branch in Syria's Afrin.
Muratdagi was critically injured during clashes with YPG/PKK terrorists and rushed to the hospital where despite all efforts by the doctors he succumbed to his injuries.
Turkish FM Mevlut Cavusoglu says President Erdogan will speak to US President Trump on Wednesday.
Turkey's main purpose in Operation Olive Branch is to secure country's borders from terrorists, said presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin following a security summit in Presidential Complex in Ankara.
"Our sensitivity of separating civilians from the terrorists [in this operation] is at the highest level as in any other operation," Kalin said in a statement.
"Operation Olive Branch is being conducted only against terror groups, not against an ethnic group," he added.
A second Turkish soldier, Oguz Kaan Usta, has died during clashes in Operation Olive Branch against the YPG/PKK and Daesh in Syria's Afrin region.
Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu announced the death on his personal Twitter account, noting that Turkey would not retreat in the fight against terrorism.
Vatanımızın bekası için Afrin'de #ZeytinDaliHarekati’na katılan hemşehrim Piyade Üsteğmen #OğuzKaanUsta'yı şehit verdik.— Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu (@MevlutCavusoglu) January 23, 2018
Şehitlerimizin kanını yerde bırakmayacağız. Terörün kökünü kazıyana kadar mücadelemizi sürdüreceğiz.
Milletimizin başı sağolsun.
Free Syrian Army, backed by Turkish Armed Forces, captures El Hammam village in Syria's Afrin region – Anadolu Agency reports
The YPG calls for civilians to defend Syria’s Afrin region against the Turkish operation to clear terrorists from the region, Reuters reported.
“We call on all our people to defend Afrin and its pride, and contribute in all the related activities,” it said in a statement without elaborating.
The YPG reportedly forced some youth in the Syrian city to take up arms and dig trenches in their homes, according to Anadolu Agency.
US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis called on Turkey to show "restraint" in its offensive against YPG/PKK militants in Syria.
"The violence in Afrin disrupts what was a relatively stable area in Syria and distracts from the international effort to defeat ISIS [Daesh]," Mattis said during a tour of Asia, referring to the militia's enclave in northern Syria.
Day three of Turkey's Operation Olive Branch in Afrin
The UN Security Council discussed Turkey's anti-YPG offensive and the situation in Syria and refrained from condemning or demanding an end to the Afrin operation.
President Erdogan receives information via video conference from commanders of General Staff, Land Forces in region for Operation Olive Branch.
A delegation headed by Deputy Undersecretary of the US State Department, Jonathan Cohen, arrived in the capital Ankara to discuss the situation in Syria and active cooperation between the NATO allies, diplomatic sources say.
A statement by the Turkish Armed Forces says a Turkish soldier has died during clashes in Gulbaba village southeast of Kilis province, during the Operation Olive Branch against YPG/PKK and Daesh.
Turkey Presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin responded to EU’s Mogherini “extremely worried” comments, saying that they were hypocritical.
“Turkey fights all types of terrorist groups including Daesh, the PKK and FETO. When the PKK/PYD/YPG is at stake, some express their ‘concerns’ and lecture us using the refrain of ‘anti-war’ - but this is frankly a double-standard and hypocritical. It will never alter Turkey’s course.”
Türkiye DEAŞ, PKK, FETÖ dahil terörün her türüne karşı kararlılıkla mücadele etmektedir. PKK/PYD/YPG söz konusu olunca birilerinin “endişe” beyan etmesi ve “savaş karşıtlığı” söylemine sığınması, bir çifte standarttır ve iki yüzlülüktür. Bunlar Türkiye’yi asla yıldırmayacaktır.— Ibrahim Kalin (@ikalin1) January 22, 2018
Turkey’s Deputy PM Bekir Bozdag responded to US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's offer to work with Ankara, saying that Washington need to stop providing weapons to YPG and collect arms that have already been distributed.
Asked whether Ankara would give any guarantees to Russia as to the operation, Bozdag said Turkey declined to do so for Russia or any other country.
"Operation Olive Branch is limited to Afrin," he added.
The European Union's diplomatic chief Federica Mogherini said Monday she was "extremely worried" by Turkey's Afrin operation.
She also said that they "will discuss this among other things with our Turkish interlocutors."
The YPG has released Daesh prisoners on the condition of fighting against the Turkish army and the Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) in Afrin, Anadolu Agency reported.
The report came less than an hour after the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which is dominated by the YPG, said it was studying the possibility of sending reinforcements to the Afrin region.
Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said that no Turkish military casualties have been reported from the ground since the operation started three days ago.
The Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) expanded its operation to the town of Azaz to the east of Afrin in the province of Aleppo, Anadolu Agency reported on Monday.
Turkish artillery continue to shell YPG positions in Afrin in the third day of Operation Olive Branch which aims to clear the area of terror elements.
Turkish military sources said that eleven villages have been taken from the YPG since the operation started three days ago.
Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) capture strategic Bursaya mountain in northern Syria’s Afrin. The YPG/PKK have used the mountain previously to launch mortar shells and missiles into Kilis in Turkey and Azaz in Syria, Anadolu Agency reports.
The US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Washington is concerned about the Turkish incident in northern Syria and is asking both sides to show restraint, Reuters reported.
"We recognize and fully appreciate Turkey's legitimate right to protect its own citizens from terrorist elements," he added.
Tillerson also said that they can work with Turkey in the region.
Day two of Turkey's Operation Olive Branch in Afrin
US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Ankara gave Washington advance warning before launching the operation and Turkey has "legitimate" security concerns in northern Syria.
"Turkey was candid. They warned us before they launched the aircraft they were going to do it in consultation with us, and we are working now on the way ahead through the ministry of foreign affairs," Mattis said.
Turkish Chief of General Staff Hulusi Akar says that they are taking all precautions to prevent civilian deaths.
The Turkish army says it has destroyed two YPG/PKK positions in northwestern Syria, which were used to carry out rocket attacks in southern Turkey that targeted civilians.
Nine villages in the north of Afrin are cleared of YPG/PKK by the Turkish army and the FSA.
Another rocket hits a four-storey apartment building in Turkey's Reyhanli border town.
US State Department releases a statement saying "The United States is very concerned about the situation in northwest Syria, especially the plight of innocent civilians who are now faced with an escalation in fighting. We continue to be supportive of addressing the legitimate security concerns of Turkey as a NATO Ally and critical partner in the effort to defeat ISIS. However, we urge Turkey to exercise restraint and ensure that its military operations remain limited in scope and duration and scrupulous to avoid civilian casualties."
Presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin told TRT World that Turkey asked the US why they continued to provide weapons and training to the YPG even after the fight against Daesh was almost over, and they received no response.
"The investment that the US administration is putting on the YPG is going to endanger Syria’s future territorial integrity. We’re taking this action with self interest as well as for the benefit of the Syrian people. We are not interested in Syria’s territory."
Diplomatic chiefs of Iraq, Jordan, Qatar and Kuwait arrive at the Turkish Foreign Ministry to discuss the Afrin operation.
Turkish Foreign Minister Cavusoglu says anyone who opposes Turkey's Afrin operation will have taken the side of terrorists and that Ankara expects France to support Turkey.
One Syrian national killed, 37 wounded in Reyhanli, a town on Turkey's Syria border, mayor of Reyhanli says, after a missile strike from the YPG-held territory of Syria's Afrin.
EU Delegation representative Christian Berger arrives at Turkish Foreign Ministry to discuss the Afrin operation.
The Turkish Armed Forces announced that the Turkish Air Forces have destroyed 45 targets that were identified as shelters, ammunition depots used by the YPG during Operation Olive Branch. The 32 fighter jets that participated in the operation returned to their bases to prepare for the next one.
Silah ve Mühimmat Deposunun tam isabetle vuruluşu. pic.twitter.com/7wSrPehDVY— TSK (@TSKGnkur) January 21, 2018
Turkish Chief of General Staff Hulusi Akar speaks on the phone with his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Bagheri.
Saudi Arabian diplomatic chief arrives at Turkish Foreign Ministry to discuss the Afrin operation.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday said that the ongoing operation in Syria's Afrin will be completed "in very short time".
Addressing a massive crowd in western city of Bursa during governing Justice and Development (AK) Party's Women Branch congress, Erdogan said "hopefully, we will complete this operation in a very short time."
The media office of the Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army said the group managed to capture Shingal village in Afrin region on Sunday from YPG.
The Syrian village is located in the north of Afrin town and near the Turkish border.
The village is considered the first to be captured since the Turkey-backed operation in Afrin began on Saturday.
Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says YPG/PKK and Turkish forces clash on the northern and western edges of Afrin.
Talking to Anadolu Agency about the Turkish border mission in Afrin a NATO official said that every country has the right to defend itself.
"It is important that this is done in a proportional and meticulous manner," the official said.
The official also added that Turkey has informed the alliance about the operation.
Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim announces that the operation will be conducted in four phases, and said that Turkey will create a safe zone about 30 km deep.
He also said that Turkey spoke with the Syrian regime through Russia, and said that they were working to eliminate Iran’s concerns. He also said that Russia did not have objections to the operation.
Yildirim also said that region currently had about 8 to ten thousand terrorists
Turkish forces join Free Syrian Army fighters in a comprehensive ground operation against YPG/PKK in Syria's Afrin.
Turkish warplanes and artillery have hit 153 targets in Syria's Afrin, the Turkish General Staff said in a statement.
"So far, 153 targets, which were used as shelters, hideouts and ammunition depots by terrorist organisations PKK/KCK/PYD-YPG and Daesh, have been targeted."
Turkish Foreign Minister Cavusoglu holds a phonecall with his French counterpart, Jean-Yves Le Drian. Later the French foreign ministry said France called for a United Nations Security Council emergency meeting over the situation in Syria. The Council will meet on Monday.
Free Syrian Army launches an operation in Syria’s YPG/PKK-occupied Afrin.
Regime forces helped YPG/PKK in Aleppo to send arms to the northwestern city of Afrin where Turkey is running an operation, Anadolu Agency reports.
Quoting local sources on the ground, the semi-official agency says the regime paved the way for the use of roads through YPG/PKK-held Sheikh Maqsoud neighbourhood to deliver reinforcements, connecting the centre of Aleppo to Afrin.
Rockets fired from Syria hit Turkey's Kilis city early Sunday.
The rockets struck the city centre at around 22:40 GMT, according to the governor. At least one person has been injured.
Turkey’s Afrin operation, “Operation Olive Branch” begins
Three rockets launched from Syrian soil hit two houses and a workplace in the Ekrem Cetin neighbourhood of Turkey's Kilis province. No casualties reported.
Turkish tanks enter Syria through Kilis.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu tells TRT World that the objective of the Afrin operation is to ensure Turkey’s border security, eradicate terrorism in the area, and protect civilians from terrorists in the region.
Turkish Prime Minister Binanli Yildirim announces that Turkey may start a ground offensive in Afrin the next day based on developments on the ground.
18: 45 GMT
The Pentagon spokesperson responds to the operation, saying the US “encourage[s] all parties to avoid escalation and to focus on the most important task of defeating ISIS (Daesh).”
“We understand Turkey’s security concerns about PKK, which is designated as a foreign terrorist organisation by the US.”
“The US does not support the PKK in any way.”
About an hour later its foreign ministry's statement, Russian Ministry of Defence blames the Afrin operation on the Pentagon in a statement, saying that it took “provocative steps” by providing modern arms to the US-backed groups in Syria.
The statement added that the United States’ irresponsible behavior in Syria threatened the peace process in the country as well as the Geneva process.
The Turkish Armed Forces announce that all 72 fighter jets took part in the operation have returned to their bases in Turkey to prepare for their next mission.
The Turkish Foreign Ministry announces that they have also invited the chiefs of diplomatic missions of China, France and the UK, the other members of the United Nations Security Council, to talk about the Afrin operation.
Turkish Foreign Minister Cavusoglu speaks with his American counterpart Rex Tillerson and the phone, and says that he wants the US’ support. “Those who don't support us should not stand in our way,” he later said in an interview to a Turkish TV channel.
Russian Defense Ministry says Russian troops in Afrin relocated to Tel Rifat for safety.
The Turkish Foreign Ministry announces that they invited Russian, Iranian and the US diplomatic mission chiefs in Ankara to inform them about the Afrin operation.
Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Jaber Ansari says that any ground operation in Syria may affect the Syrian National Dialogue Congress due to take place in Sochi at the end of the month in a “positive or negative manner.”
“We hope that the ceasefire guarantors in Syria (Russia, Turkey and Iran) will take action to avoid this."
The Turkish Armed Forces announces 108 out of 113 YPG/PKK targets it had identified had been successfully hit.
The Russian Foreign Ministry releases a statement in response to the start of Turkey’s Afrin operation, saying they received the launch of the operation in Afrin “with concern.”
“We are closely monitoring the development of the situation.”
Anadolu Agency reports that the Free Syrian Army troops entered YPG-held regions via Azez.
The Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) releases a statement saying that the TSK has launched “Operation Olive Branch” in Afrin to clear the PKK/YPG from Afrin.
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says that the operation has begun.
Turkey’s Prime Minister Binali Yildirim confirms that the operation has started.
Turkish jets start bombing YPG and Daesh targets in Afrin.
Anadolu Agency reports that Russia started withdrawing its military assets in northeast Kafr Jana region of Afrin city, ahead of Turkey’s expected operation in Syria’s northwestern city of Afrin. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov denied that the Russian troops were withdrawing.
CNN quoted US officials as saying that US troops have continued overt patrols near Manbij.
US officials tell CNN that US troops continue overt patrols near Manbij, Syria. Officials say Turkish-backed rebels in the area regularly fire on these patrols & US forces occasionally return fire. One official said US troops in the Manbij area came under fire “in the last week" https://t.co/F1dQI4EfQS— Ryan Browne (@rabrowne75) January 19, 2018
Turkey's Defence Minister Nurettin Canikli says in an interview with a Turkish news channel that Russia's co-operation with Turkey on any moves in Afrin is important:
"The decisions and stances of the countries which have an influence on the ground in Syria is of course very crucial for our operation. For us to be more successful, our policies with those countries should be consistent... Our talks with Russia will continue."
Turkey’s Chief of General Staff General Hulusi Akar and Hakan Fidan, head of Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MIT) fly to Moscow to meet with Russian Chief of Staff Valery Gerasimov to discuss details of the Afrin operation.
Turkish shelling of Afrin continues.
Contradicting the US’ earlier statements, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson denies that the US had any intention of building a Syria-Turkey border force, saying the issue, which has incensed Ankara, had been "misportrayed."
The next day, US Department of Defense gives a statement about the “Border Security Force” without making reference to the SDF.
“The US continues to train local security forces in Syria. The training is designed to enhance security for displaced persons returning to their devastated communities,” it read. “It is also essential so that ISIS (Daesh) cannot reemerge in liberated and ungoverned areas. This is not a new ‘army’ or conventional ‘border guard’ force.”
Later that day, Pentagon spokesman Eric Pahon gave another statement to Anadolu Agency about the role of the militants.
"I do not want to characterise as a police force, but it is a kind of security and stability force or some sort of area control force," he said.
Turkey’s President Erdogan responds to the US’ announcement about the formation of 30,000-strong YPG army on its border with Syria, and says it will be dealt with and that Turkey’s armed forces were ready to start operations.
“The US has admitted to forming a terrorist army along the Turkish border," he said, vowing that Turkey would kill that army before it was born.
“The US created a terror organisation with 30,000 people and has provided them with 4,800 truckloads of arms as of now.”
Turkey starts shelling Afrin in retaliation to attacks from the YPG.
The US-led coalition announces that it is working with the YPG/SDF militants to set up a new “Border Security Force” of 30,000 personnel, deployed at the borders of the area controlled by the YPG/SDF.
Turkey’s President Erdogan says during a speech in Turkey’s Elazig province that it would be less than a week before the Afrin operation started.
“It won’t be a week before they see how we destroy them [the YPG]”
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says Turkey will resume its military operation in Syria's Afrin and Manbij regions to breach YPG-controlled areas and secure its borders against terror groups.
"Now, it is the time to completely destroy the plan of the separatist terror group to establish a terror corridor in Syria. We will continue Operation Euphrates Shield in Afrin and Manbij. We will complete this process by bringing peace and security on all of our borders," he said.