The centre of Afrin in Syria has been surrounded since March 12, and critically important areas have been seized recently, says the Turkish General Staff in a written statement on Tuesday.

A view of Afrin region is seen on March 12, 2018, in Afrin, Syria.
A view of Afrin region is seen on March 12, 2018, in Afrin, Syria. ( AA )

The Turkish Armed Forces announced on Tuesday that the Afrin town centre, in northwestern Syria, has been surrounded since Monday as part of the Turkish-led Operation Olive Brach.

In a written statement, the Turkish General Staff said the centre of Afrin has been surrounded since Monday as a result of the ongoing operations in the region and "critically important areas" have been seized. 

A total of 3,400 terrorists have been "neutralised" since the start of the operation, the army said in a separate statement on Tuesday morning.

Turkish authorities often use the word "neutralised" in their statements to imply the terrorists in question either surrendered or were killed or captured.

Only terrorists and shelters, gun emplacements, weapons, tools and equipment belonging to them have been targeted during the operation, which is “successfully” continuing, the statement said. 

The military reiterated that they have been showing every kind of attention and sensibility to ensure civilians and nearby areas do not get harmed.

TRT World 's Defence Analyst Oubai Shahbandar explains the importance of the development.

Humanitarian aids

Since the launch of the operation, the Turkish military and Free Syrian Army have cleared more than 200 locations from terrorists, including town centres, villages and strategic mountains.

Bekir Bozdag, deputy prime minister and government spokesperson, said on Monday that the operation has cleared a total of 1,102 square kilometres from the terror groups.

“Basic humanitarian needs, including health services of civilians in the operation area have been met ‘devotedly’,” the military said.

After securing the liberated regions, Turkey is firstly helping locals return home and the Turkish Red Crescent (Kizilay) and the Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) are conducting aid activities simultaneously, the statement said.

An armored military vehicle belonging to the Turkish army is seen near olive trees as Turkish Armed Forces and Free Syrian Army (FSA) deployed forces 1.5 kilometers from the town of Afrin, Syria on March 12, 2018.
An armored military vehicle belonging to the Turkish army is seen near olive trees as Turkish Armed Forces and Free Syrian Army (FSA) deployed forces 1.5 kilometers from the town of Afrin, Syria on March 12, 2018. ( AA )

On January 20, Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch to clear the PKK-affiliated YPG and Daesh terrorists from Afrin, northwestern Syria.

According to the Turkish General Staff, the operation aims to establish security and stability along Turkey’s borders and the region as well as to protect Syrians from the oppression and cruelty of terrorists.

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, it said. 

Source: TRTWorld and agencies