By Omer Koparan and Dildar Baykan
AZEZ, Syria (AA) - Turkish soldiers and Free Syrian Army (FSA) fighters uncovered a 4-kilometer (2.5-mile) long ditch used by terrorist PYD/PKK group in a liberated village during Turkey’s ongoing Operation Olive Branch in northwestern Syria.
On the 18th day of the operation, the 3.5-meter deep and 3-meter wide ditch linking Dikmetas, under control of terror group, and opposition-held Yazibag villages was discovered.
Opposition forces, later, filled the ditch with soil and made it unusable.
A total of 970 PKK/KCK/PYD-YPG and Daesh terrorists have been "neutralized" since the launch of Operation Olive Branch in Syria's Afrin region, the military said on Tuesday.
A total of 36 locations, including 23 villages and 11 strategic hills have been liberated so far in the operation.
On Jan. 20, Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch along with the Free Syrian Army (FSA) to clear 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.
The military also said only terror targets are being destroyed and that "utmost importance and sensitivity" is being put on avoiding harming civilians.
Afrin has been a major hideout for the PYD/PKK since July 2012, when the Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria left the city to the terror group without a fight.