By Esref Musa and Omer Koparan
IDLIB/AZAZ, Syria (AA) – Turkey’s counter-terrorist operation in Afrin, northwestern Syria has never targeted residential areas or civilians, the residents of a village recently liberated from terrorists said on Friday.
On Tuesday the Syrian village of Dayr Sawan, located across the border from Kilis, Turkey, was cleared of YPG/PKK-Daesh terrorists by Turkish and Free Syrian Army (FSA) forces.
“During the operation, we didn’t leave our houses. Our neighbors who fled started to slowly return,” Abu Zeyn, a farmer from the village, told Anadolu Agency.
Subhi Muhammad, another villager, said the Turkish and Free Syrian Army forces only targeted the terrorist groups’ strongholds.
“Starting a month ago there was bombing, but residential areas in the village weren’t targeted. Some people fled because they were scared by the noise from the bombs,” he said.
“But residential areas and houses in the village were never hit. Civilians weren’t targeted.”
Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch on Jan. 20 to remove PYD/PKK and Daesh terrorists from Afrin, northwestern Syria.
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.