AZAZ, Syria (AA) - Turkish military-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) forces withdrew Monday from Mt. Bursaya, east of the Afrin city center, hours after capturing the strategic mountain from the PYD/PKK terrorist group, according to Anadolu Agency reporters on the scene.
It was captured earlier in the day following a fresh operation of the Turkish military and FSA forces launched from the Azaz front, west of Afrin, as part of Operation Olive Branch.
However, the FSA forces were pulled from the mountain following clashes with PYD/PKK terrorists.
After the withdrawal, clashes continued at the foothills of the mountain.
The terror group uses 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 the other hand, earlier in the day the Turkish military and FSA forces -- who entered Afrin from the north -- rid terrorists from the Sheikh Badi, Marso and Haftar villages of the town of Bulbul.
Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch on Saturday to remove PYD/PKK and Daesh terrorists from the northwestern Syrian city of Afrin, as well as to ensure peace in the region.
A total of 14 points were rescued from the organization on day three of the operation.
-Clearing villages, farms of terrorists
Turkish-backed forces moved forward from the northern, northwestern and western sides of Afrin on Sunday, clearing the villages of Shenkal, Kurni, Bali, and Adamanli of the towns of Rajo and Bulbul as well as the farms of Kita, Kordo, and Bibno and Tel Hill and the 240th Hill in Syria from the terrorist group.
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 the Syrian people 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 "utmost importance" is being placed on not 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 putting up a fight.