Turkey says Operation Olive Branch will continue until all of Syria's Afrin region is cleared from PKK/YPG terrorists and called on allies to not train terror elements.

Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag.
Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag. (AA)

The Syrian city of Tel Rifaat will be cleared from the PKK/YPG terror organisation just like Afrin, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag said on Thursday.

Speaking to a local news channel Haberturk, Bozdag said, "Just as PKK/YPG terror organisation was cleared from Afrin, now Tel Rifaat will be cleared."

Turkey on January 20 launched Operation Olive Branch to clear terror groups from Afrin, northwestern Syria, near Turkey's border, amid growing threats from the region.

On March 18, the 58th day of the operation, Turkish troops and the Free Syrian Army announced that the city had been liberated.

Commenting on the arrests of July 2016 coup plotters, the deputy premier said, “To date, Turkish intelligence agency MIT brought 80 FETO suspects to Turkey from 18 countries.”

PKK/YPG presence in Tel Rifaat

Turkish presidential spokesperson Ibrahim Kalin announced on  Thursday: Russia had informed Turkey that PKK/YPG terrorists, for the most part, had left Syria's Tel Rifaat.

Kalin said Turkey was attempting to verify the information through its sources in the region.

Kalin also reiterated that Operation Olive Branch will continue until the entirety of Syria's Afrin region is cleared from terror elements.

Turkey calls on allies not to train terrorists

Turkey's European Union affairs minister on Thursday called on the country's allies to not train PKK/YPG terrorists.

"We do not want to see any of our allies' soldiers training YPG terrorists," Omer Celik told reporters after his meeting in Paris with his French counterpart Nathalie Loiseau and French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian.

"France is our ally, but we do not want to hear a sentence such as one claiming 'Afrin is occupied'," Celik added, referring to Turkey’s counter-terrorism operation in Afrin, Syria, near the Turkish border.

Le Drian last month claimed that the Afrin operation is a "deep incursion" which is "not justified."

According to an official statement, in a meeting last week with a PKK/YPG-led SDF delegation at the Elysee Palace, French President Emmanuel Macron assured the SDF of France's support against Daesh and also claimed that the SDF had no operational link with the PKK terror organisation.

However, Turkey has documented that the YPG and SDF are actually the Syrian branches of the PKK, recognised by Turkey, France, and the EU as a terror organisation.

In its 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK has taken some 40,000 lives.

Ankara has repeatedly warned against international actors cooperating with such groups as the YPG and SDF as they are PKK outfits using different names.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies