Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said the operation against PYD/PKK and Daesh elements in Syria's Afrin will complete “in a very short time”.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan addresses crowd during a rally in Bursa, Turkey, January 21, 2018.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan addresses crowd during a rally in Bursa, Turkey, January 21, 2018. ( AA )

The ongoing Operation Olive Branch in Syria's Afrin will be completed "in very short time", Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday. 

The operation, aimed at eliminating PYD/PKK and Daesh elements from Syria's Afrin, was launched at 1400 GMT on Saturday. 

Addressing a gathering of the governing Justice and Development (AK) Party's Women Branch congress in the western city of Bursa, Erdogan said: "hopefully, we will complete this operation in a very short time."

Turkish military said the operation was being carried out under the framework of Turkey’s rights based on international law, UN Security Council’s decisions, self-defence rights under the UN charter and respect to Syria's territorial integrity.

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

The YPG is backed by the US in the war against Daesh in Syria. Turkey considers the YPG a terror organisation because of its affiliation to PKK in southeastern Turkey. Since the mid-1980s, the PKK has waged attacks against the Turkish state in which an estimated 40,000 people have been killed.

TRT World's Alican Ayanlar has more details from Ankara.

The Turkish cities of Kilis and Hatay across the Syrian border are within the firing range of the PYD/PKK group from Afrin, which sits atop a hill. The terror group has also used Amanos Mountains to penetrate from Syria into Turkey.

The PYD/PKK depends on Afrin to connect to the Mediterranean from northwestern Syria. The terrorist organisation has also threatened the gains made from Operations Euphrates Shield and Idlib de-escalation zone over Afrin. 

A quarter of Syria land and 65 percent of Turkey-Syria border are currently under occupation of the terrorist organisation.

Operation Euphrates Shield began in August 2016 and ended in late March 2017 to improve security, support coalition forces and eliminate the terror threat along the Turkish border.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies