By Sarp Ozer
The domestic-made T-129 ATAK helicopter made its debut military run early Wednesday morning as part of Turkey's ongoing Operation Olive Branch, hitting PYD/PKK targets in the west of Afrin.
The Turkish-made choppers used the guided air-to-ground CIRIT rockets -- also Turkish-made -- to hit numerous terrorist targets meticulously laser-marked beforehand by the ground forces, a military source told Anadolu Agency on condition of anonymity due to media restrictions.
The Anadolu Agency team on the ground also filmed the helicopter's shooting at terrorist targets.
Developed by the Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) and AgustaWestland, an Italian helicopter design and production company, the T-129 first entered service with the Turkish Armed Forces in May 2014.
Designed for attack and reconnaissance missions, the helicopter is now produced by TAI and exported to militaries around the world.
Turkey on Saturday launched Operation Olive Branch to remove PYD/PKK and Daesh terrorists from Afrin. The operation aims to establish security and stability along Turkish borders and the region as well as to protect the Syrian people from the oppression and cruelty of terrorists, stated the Turkish General Staff.
The operation is 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 for Syria's territorial integrity, it said.
The military has also said that only terrorist targets are being destroyed and "utmost importance" is being given to not harm any civilians.
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.