By Sibel Ugurlu
ANKARA (AA) – Turkey’s president said on Sunday that the Turkish-led Operation Olive Branch will soon capture a strategic peak in Afrin, Syria that has been used to launch cross-border attacks.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s remarks came during a rally ahead of a provincial congress of the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party in the central Corum province.
“I just talked with the commander. He said, ‘I hope we will soon capture Mt. Bursaya as well’,” said Erdogan.
The battle at Mt. Bursaya, a strategic peak in northeast Afrin, had intensified early Sunday as Turkish-backed forces continue to rid more territories of the terrorist PYD/PKK.
The terrorist group has used Mt. Bursaya to target civilians in the center of Turkey’s Kilis province and Syria’s Azaz district through mortar shells, artillery, and missiles.
On Wednesday two civilians were killed by a PYD/PKK attack on a mosque in Kilis, and on Saturday at least three civilians, including a child, were injured by PYD/PKK terrorist attacks on Kilis and Hatay.
Eliminating terrorists from Mt. Bursaya will help Turkey reduce the terror threat at its border and protect civilians in Syria.
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 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.
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.