Türkİye, Middle East

Turkish police, gendarmerie forces join Afrin operation

Inclusion of police, gendarmerie special forces in operation to accelerate Turkish troops advance into Afrin city center

Turkish police, gendarmerie forces join Afrin operation

AFRIN, Syria

Police and gendarmerie special forces have begun supporting the ongoing Operation Olive Branch in rural areas of northwestern Syria's Afrin region, according to a security source on Thursday.

Earlier this week, Turkey sent special forces personnel from police and gendarmerie to Afrin for taking part in the operation that aims to liberate the city from the YPG/PKK and Daesh terrorist organizations.

The special forces personnel, who are capable of carrying out joint operations and urban warfare, conducted search operations in the villages liberated by the Turkish army and the Free Syrian Army fighters from the YPG/PKK terrorist group, the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on talking to the media, said.

Some of the special forces units were also stationed in the villages in order to prevent the terrorists from infiltrating them.

In rural areas of Afrin, the special forces were also conducting 24-hour surveillance through night-vision binoculars.

The police and gendarmerie special forces, some of which were stationed near Jinderes and Raju towns of Afrin, will undertake important duties during the operation in Afrin city center, which is expected to be launched in the upcoming days.

Both police and gendarmerie special forces had gained significant experiences of urban warfare during the counter-terrorism operations in southeastern Turkish cities of Silopi, Cizre, Idil, Yuksekova, Nusaybin and Sirnak in 2016.

The inclusion of the special forces into the Operation Olive Branch will accelerate the Turkish troops advance into the Afrin city center, the source added.

Turkey on Jan. 20 launched Operation Olive Branch to remove PYD/PKK and Daesh terrorists from Afrin. According to the Turkish General Staff, the operation aims to establish security and stability along Turkey's borders and the region as well as protect Syrians from terrorist cruelty and oppression.

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 avoid harming 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 a fight.

Reporting by Soner Kilinc:Writing by Sorwar Alam

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