Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said the Afrin region in Syria would be handed over to Syrians once it was cleared from terrorists through Operation Olive Branch.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (C) greets the crowd as he arrives to attend Turkey's governing Justice and Development (AK) Party’s extended meeting of provincial heads at the AK Party's headquarters in Ankara, Turkey on January 26, 2018.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (C) greets the crowd as he arrives to attend Turkey's governing Justice and Development (AK) Party’s extended meeting of provincial heads at the AK Party's headquarters in Ankara, Turkey on January 26, 2018. ( AA )

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan pledged on Friday to sweep YPG terrorists from the entire length of the border with Syria - extending Operation Olive branch as far as Iraq.

"We will clear Manbij of terrorists ... No one should be disturbed by this because the real owners of Manbij are not these terrorists, they are our Arab brothers," Erdogan said during an address to local leaders of the governing AK Party in Ankara.

"From Manbij, we will continue our struggle up to the border with Iraq, until no terrorist is left," he said.

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. 

Ankara considers the YPG to be the Syrian branch of the PKK, which is a designated terrorist organisation by Turkey, the US and the EU. 

Afrin has been a major hideout for the YPG since July 2012 when the Assad regime in Syria left the city to the terror group without putting up a fight.

Erdogan, UK's May discuss the operation

In a phone conversation on Friday, Erdogan and British Prime Minister Theresa May exchanged views on the latest developments in Syria and Operation Olive Branch, according to a statement issued by the Turkish Presidency.

Turkey gives “utmost care” to not harm civilians during its military’s operation in the northwestern Afrin region of Syria, Erdogan told May.

He noted the aim of the operation is to clear Afrin from all terrorist organisations, including Daesh and YPG/PKK.

May, for her part, commended Turkey’s fight against Daesh terrorist organisation, and its contribution to defeat the terror group.

The leaders agreed on keeping close contact in forthcoming days to find the solution of Syria issue.

Turkish FM says Afrin will be handed over to its real owners

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Friday said the Afrin region in Syria would be handed over to Syrians once it was cleared from terrorists through Operation Olive Branch.

"After clearing them [terrorists], we will hand the region over to its real owners; namely, we will hand it over to Syrians," Cavusoglu said at an event in Turkey's southern province of Antalya.

Cavusoglu also slammed the US over its “double-faced” actions, providing arms to YPG terrorists and expressing concern for civilians as well as the length of the operation.

"Do not be double-faced, be honest," Cavusoglu said.

He added that it is not possible to find a political solution with terrorist groups.

"From wherever terror threat comes, from Afrin [Syria], Sinjar [Iraq], Qandil [Iraq], Manbij [Syria] or Euphrates River's east, we will intervene and destroy it," the foreign minister said.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies