Turkey, Middle East

Only 1.5 kilometers left to surround Afrin's city center

1,100 square kilometers of area has been cleared of terror threats during Afrin operation

Only 1.5 kilometers left to surround Afrin's city center


Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) and Free Syrian Army (FSA) are making rapid advances during ongoing Operation Olive Branch, and now need to advance just 1.5 kilometers (0.9 mile) from east to southwest to surround Afrin’s city center.

On Sunday, Turkish troops and FSA fighters liberated 18 zones during the operation, which aims to remove YPG/PKK-Daesh terrorists from northwestern Afrin region of Syria.

According to Anadolu Agency’s map, a total of 1,100 square kilometers (425 square miles) of area has been cleared of terror threats during the operation.

The TSK and FSA will fully surround Afrin’s city center after advancing 1.5 kilometers (0.9 mile) from east to southwest on the east-south line of the map.

Also, only 3.5 kilometers (2.1 miles) remains to be surrounded from the south.

A video showing the city center of Afrin region was shot by an Anadolu Agency drone.

An operation in Mabatli town center -- the sixth town center of the region located in the northwest -- has not been launched yet.

Other five town centers include southwestern Jinderes, western Shaykh al-Hadid, northwestern Rajo, northern Bulbul and northeastern Sharan.

Since the launch of the operation, Turkish military and the FSA have freed 193 locations, including five town centers, 155 villages, 33 strategic mountains and hills and one YPG/PKK base.

A total of 3,347 terrorists have been "neutralized" so far during the operation, the Turkish military said on Monday morning.

YPG/PKK's shelters and defense zones are largely located in Afrin’s city center.

The terrorist group is forcing the local population to stay in the city center in order to use them as human shields. It is preventing Arabs and Kurds from leaving the area, especially those who want to go to regions under the control of Bashar al-Assad regime and its opponents. The UN also has criticized the move to limit the mobility of civilians.

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, which was launched on Jan. 20.

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.

Reporting by Levent Tok, Mohamad Misto and Selen Temizer:Writing by Sena Guler

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