By Soner Kilinc
AFRIN, Syria (AA) - At the strategically important Mt. Bursaya in northwestern Syria, Turkish forces are hunting for PYD/PKK terrorists in fortified tunnels that stretch out for dozens of kilometers.
According to Anadolu Agency correspondents on the ground, Turkish soldiers are blocking tunnel entrances to prevent infiltration by terrorists in Afrin, Syria.
Day and night, using drones and night-vision aircraft, soldiers are monitoring the tunnels, which reach villages such as Bafliyun, Katman and Qestel.
During the ongoing counter-terrorist Operation Olive Branch, special commandoes first sweep the area for explosives, then search for terrorists in the tunnels.
Although Mt. Bursaya was liberated by Turkey on Jan. 28, tunnels remain within the peak, built with concrete blocks some 90 centimeters thick, and stretching as far as 1.5 kilometers.
Military sources told Anadolu Agency that still some of the tunnel entrances are still in control of PYD/PKK terrorists. Some of the tunnels that reach nearby villages are as long as 50 km, said the sources, who asked not to be named due to restrictions on speaking to the media.
Turkish "sparrow" drones can detect movement and take photos of the tunnels at all hours, helping Turkish forces clear out the terrorists.
The sources added that the tunnels were built with an understanding of military strategy and must have cost millions of dollars.
Turkey on Jan. 20 launched Operation Olive Branch to remove PYD/PKK and Daesh terrorists from Afrin.
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 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.