By Mumin Altas
ANKARA (AA) - The Turkish General Staff announced on Sunday that Turkish army and Free Syrian Army (FSA) forces had captured the strategic Mt. Bursaya in northern Syria as part of the ongoing Operation Olive Branch.
“The Turkish Armed Forces captured Mt. Bursaya, as part of Operation Olive Branch. Activities continue to clear terrorists from the area,” said the General Staff in a statement.
It said the strategic peak was captured by the Turkish military and Free Syrian Army forces at around 2.30 p.m. local time (1130GMT) on Sunday.
The statement also stated that the operation, backed by air raids, attack helicopters, armed unmanned aerial vehicles, and land-based fire, was continuing successfully as planned.
The capture came after Turkish forces and FSA fighters under the Turkish-led Operation Olive Branch advanced on the peak from the northwestern Syrian city of Azaz.
Airstrikes followed as PYD/PKK towers and positions on the mountain took heavy artillery fire from Turkish forces.
The terrorist PYD/PKK 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 should help Turkey reduce the terror threat at its border and protect civilians in Syria.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told a public rally earlier on Sunday that commanders in the field said the mountain’s capture was imminent.
Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch on Jan. 20 to rid Afrin, northwestern Syria of PYD/PKK and Daesh terrorists.
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.