Türkİye, Middle East

'Operation Olive Branch to create 30-km-deep safe zone'

Turkish prime minister says first aim of operation in Afrin is to create a safe zone

Sena Güler, Seyit Ahmet Aytaç   | 21.01.2018
'Operation Olive Branch to create 30-km-deep safe zone'


By Cigdem Alyanak and Ismail Ozdemir


Operation Olive Branch aims to create 30-kilometer-deep (approx. 19 miles) safe zone in northwestern Afrin region of Syria, Turkish prime minister said Sunday.

"First goal [of the operation] is to create a safe area there and then we can take concrete steps to eliminate terrorist elements," Binali Yildirim told media representatives in Istanbul.

He said there are 8,000-10,000 terrorists in Afrin and Turkey would clear all the terrorists on its borders.

Yildirim said Russia, the U.S. and Iran were informed about Turkish plan ahead of the operation.

"There is confusion in U.S. [regarding the operation]. Everyone speaks different things," he said, adding that they also did not voice a firm opposition to the operation.

Turkey on Saturday launched Operation Olive Branch to remove PKK/KCK/PYD-YPG and Daesh terror groups from Afrin.

The operation was being carried out under the framework of Turkey’s rights based on international law, UN Security Council’s decisions, self-defense rights under the UN charter and respect to Syria's territorial integrity, the military added.

The military also said only terrorist targets were being destroyed and "utmost importance" was being given to not harm any civilian.

Afrin has been a major hideout for the PYD/PKK since July 2012 when the Assad regime in Syria left the city to the terror group without putting up a fight.

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