Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan afternoon said the ongoing Operation Olive Branch in Syria’s Afrin will be completed in very short time.
Addressing a massive crowd in western city of Bursa before ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party’s Women Branch congress, Erdogan said “hopefully, we will complete this operation in a very short time.”
The operation — aimed at eliminating PYD/PKK and Daesh elements from Syria’s Afrin — was launched at 5 p.m. (GMT1400) on Saturday. It 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, according to the military.
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.
The Turkish cities of Kilis and Hatay across the Syrian border are within the firing range of the PYD/PKK group from Afrin, which sits atop a hill. The terror group has also used Amanos Mountains to penetrate from Syria into Turkey.
The PYD/PKK depends on Afrin to connect to the Mediterranean from northwestern Syria. The terrorist organization has also threatened the gains made from Operations Euphrates Shield and Idlib de-escalation zone over Afrin. A quarter of Syria land and 65 percent of Turkey-Syria border are currently under occupation of the terrorist organization.