Turkey, World, Middle East

Turkish army chief vows to rout all terrorists in Afrin

Terrorists in Afrin along with the external forces who back them will be completely routed, says Gen. Hulusi Akar

Turkish army chief vows to rout all terrorists in Afrin


By Merve Yildizalp


Turkey's army chief on Monday vowed to defeat all terrorists in Afrin, northwestern Syria as the Turkish-led operation there entered its 37th day.

“The terrorists in Afrin, and those brought there from outside regardless of their origins, along with the external forces who back them, will be completely routed,” Chief of General Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar said during a visit to the southern Turkish province of Hatay, close to Syria’s border.

Akar, accompanied by the commanders of the Turkish Land and Air Forces, Generals Yasar Guler and Hasan Kucukakyuz, was in Hatay to inspect military units, outposts, command posts, and mobile military hospital, according to a Turkish General Staff statement. 

The Turkish border cities of Kilis and Hatay are within firing range of the PYD/PKK terrorist group from Afrin, Syria. Since the start of Operation Olive Branch, the PYD/PKK has targeted civilians in Turkey with some 100 cross-border attacks, leading to seven civilian deaths and 125 wounded.

Turkey on Jan 20. launched the operation to remove PYD/PKK and Daesh terrorists from Afrin.

The Turkish Armed Forces also continues to deploy military vehicles at the border close to the theater of operations.

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 has also said that only terrorist targets are being destroyed and "utmost care" is being taken to avoiding harming civilians.

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

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