Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch on January 20 along with the Free Syrian Army (FSA) to clear YPG/PKK and Daesh terrorists from Afrin, northwestern Syria.

Smoke rises from the Syria's Afrin region, as it is pictured from near the Turkish town of Hassa, on the Turkish-Syrian border in Hatay province, Turkey January 20, 2018.
Smoke rises from the Syria's Afrin region, as it is pictured from near the Turkish town of Hassa, on the Turkish-Syrian border in Hatay province, Turkey January 20, 2018. (Reuters)

Turkish troops are getting closer to Syria’s Afrin city center, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday. 

Turkey’s ongoing Operation Olive Branch in Afrin is now in its third week. 

Speaking at an ordinary congress of his ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party in the eastern province of Bitlis, Erdogan said: “We are advancing into Afrin city center. We are close.” 

A total of 897 YPG/PKK and Daesh terrorists have been “neutralised” since the operation began.

TRT World's Hasan Abdullah has more details from Ankara.

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

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.

Since the start of the operation, the YPG/PKK has carried out cross-border attacks on Turkey by firing rockets on civilian neighbourhoods, killing at least seven civilians and injuring 107 others including children.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies