By Ayse Sensoy Boztepe and Duygu Yener
ANKARA (AA) - The terrorists in Syria's Afrin will get the "punishment they deserve", Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said Wednesday.
"Through Operation Olive Branch, we will eliminate threats directed to our southern border. The operation is moving full steam ahead, as planned. The fronts that the heroes [Turkish soldiers] created around Afrin, have started to unite.
"Soon, the terrorists in all of Afrin will be given the punishment they deserve. Hundreds of thousands of people living there will be saved from cruelty," Yildirim said, during the 11th Development Plan Publicity meeting in the capital Ankara.
Yildirim said Turkey's struggle with terrorist organizations and their extensions will last until "terror trouble" ends both at home and abroad.
"Even the despicable terrorist attacks could not ruin our production, our development and our stability," he said.
On Jan. 20, Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch to clear YPG/PKK-Daesh terrorists from Afrin in northwestern Syria.
Since the start of the operation, the terrorist groups carried out cross-border attacks on Turkey by firing rockets and mortar shells on civilian neighborhoods.
The Turkish General Staff has said the Afrin operation is aimed at establishing security and stability along Turkish borders and the region as well as protecting Syrians from terrorist oppression and cruelty.
It said the operation was being carried out under the framework of Turkey’s rights based on international law.
The military also said "utmost care and sensitivity" was being put on avoiding harm to civilians.
Afrin has been a major hideout for the YPG/PKK since July 2012 when the Bashar al-Assad regime left the city to the terror group without a fight.