Turkey

Erdogan speaks to commandos on Afrin operation's anniversary

Turkey's fight against terrorism will continue without hesitation in Syria's Afrin, Jarabulus, and Al-Bab, says president

20.01.2019
Erdogan speaks to commandos on Afrin operation's anniversary

By Sarp Ozer and Zafer Fatih Beyaz

HATAY, Turkey

Marking the first anniversary of the start of Turkey’s Operation Olive Branch, the president on Sunday spoke with Defense Minister Hulusi Akar and a commando team involved in the counter-terrorist operation.

In a video call to the soldiers at their base in Turkey's southern Hatay province, Erdogan stressed that Turkey's fight against terrorism will continue without hesitation in Syria's Afrin, Jarabulus, and Al-Bab regions.

"The fight in Afrin will hold an unforgettable place in our memories," he said, referring to the site of Operation Olive Branch.

Erdogan said that the terrorists will not be able to stop Turkish troops or its allies the Free Syrian Army, adding: "We will bring freedom to all our Syrian brothers as soon as possible."

He also stressed: "Syria's territorial integrity is now under our guarantee, and no division will be allowed here."

About Sunday's terrorist attack in Afrin, northern Syria, Erdogan said: "Terrorist attacks in Afrin will never deter us from our fight there."

Erdogan also gave condolences for the people killed in the attack and wished a full recovery to the injured.

Two civilians were killed and eight injured in Sunday’s bomb attack on a bus in Afrin.

The bombing, falling on the first anniversary of the start of Operation Olive Branch, is believed to be the work of the terrorist YPG/PKK.

Akar, along with top military officers, also addressed the commando team and inspected border units in Hatay.

Since 2016, Turkey’s Euphrates Shield and Olive Branch operations in northwestern Syria have liberated the region of YPG/PKK and Daesh terrorists, making it possible for Syrians who fled violence there to return home.

Since being rooted out from Afrin by Olive Branch, the YPG/PKK has targeted civilians and security forces with terrorist attacks.

In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK -- recognized as a terrorist group by Turkey, the U.S., and the EU -- has been responsible for the deaths of some 40,000 people. The YPG/PYD is the group's Syrian branch.

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