By Omer Koparan and Levent Tok
AZAZ, Syria (AA) – New tunnels used by terrorist group PYD/PKK for protection against air strikes and artillery shelling in Afrin, northwestern Syria have been found.
Turkey on Jan. 20 launched Operation Olive Branch to remove PYD/PKK and Daesh terrorists from Afrin.
According to Anadolu Agency correspondents on the ground, Free Syrian Army fighters conducted a security check inside the tunnels in Shedya village of Recu town.
The concrete tunnels have a diameter of two meters. They connect observation towers and reinforced emplacements to each other.
Inside the tunnels, people can live and weapons can be stored.
Earlier, Turkish forces discovered tunnels that stretch out for dozens of kilometers at the strategically important Mt. Bursaya in northwestern Syria.
Although Mt. Bursaya was liberated by Turkey on Jan. 28, the concrete tunnels remain, some 90 centimetres thick stretching as far as 1.5 kilometers.
Also on Sunday, Turkish forces hit a drone used by the terrorist group in western Afrin, according to sources on the ground.
According to the Turkish General Staff, the ongoing 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.
* Ali Kemal Akan in Ankara contributed to this story.