Place : Ankara
Date : 08.03.2018
Source : Anadolu Agency
Source of Image : AA
Detail : Original Text

A total of 3,089 terrorists have been "neutralized" since the start of Operation Olive Branch in Syria's northwestern Afrin region, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Thursday.

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

Turkey on Jan. 20 launched Operation Olive Branch to clear YPG/PKK and Daesh terrorists from Afrin.

Erdogan said Afrin will be cleared of terrorists exactly like Jarabulus city in Syria's Aleppo was cleared during Turkey's Operation Euphrates Shield, which began in late August in 2016 and ended in March 2017.

"At least 140,000-150,000, maybe 200,000 people will return to Afrin [following Operation Olive Branch]," he added.

He said nearly 800 square-kilometre of land in Afrin has been liberated by Turkey.

"Jarabulus was 2,000 square-kilometers and we cleared it. This [Afrin] is also nearly 2,000 square-kilometers. Once we take control of the entire land, our sisters/brothers from Afrin will settle in."

Erdogan reiterated Turkey's goal in Afrin, saying "We did not enter [Afrin] to invade. We are there only to clear the area of terrorists. As soon as we are done, we will hand it over to its real owners..."  

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 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-defense rights under the UN charter, and respect for Syria's territorial integrity, it said.

The military also said only terror targets are being destroyed and that "utmost care" is being taken to avoid harming civilians.

Separately, at an International Women’s Day event at Bestepe National Culture and Congress Center, Erdogan praised the role of women.

He said: “In our own country, we are also combatting the sense of superiority which not only mistreats women but also even takes their life.”