By Omer Koparan and Adham Kako
AZEZ, Syria (AA) - Bomb disposal squads continue to defuse explosive devices planted by members of the terrorist PYD/PKK in villages in the Syrian town of Afrin.
In villages freed by the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) and the Free Syrian Army (FSA) as part of Operation Olive Branch, the terrorist group plants explosives and mines in order to hamper the progress of the TAF and FSA troops and prevent civilians from returning to their homes.
An FSA commander Abu Ahmad Shami told Anadolu Agency that PKK/PYD terrorists placed explosives and mines everywhere before they ran away.
"We don't allow the villagers to return to their homes before their homes are cleared," Shami said.
"The terrorists who fled from the Dikmetas village placed devices in the warehouses where the villagers store their olive. They even placed explosives on the dead bodies of their terrorist friends," he added.
Since the beginning of the operation, a total of 51 strategic areas have been captured from terrorists, among them a town center, 33 villages, three rural areas, and 14 hills.
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 to protect Syrians from oppression and cruelty of terrorists.
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 importance" is being put on avoiding harm to 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.