UPDATES WITH 13 MORE TERRORISTS KILLED, 4 MORE SOLDIERS MARTYRED, 2 OTHERS INJURED, BACKGROUND; HEADLINE, SPOT UPDATED WITH NEW FIGURES
By Muhammed Boztepe and Ali Kemal Akan
ANKARA (AA) - Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) neutralized at least 39 PYD/PKK and Daesh terrorists during the ongoing operation in Syria’s Afrin that also left nine Turkish soldiers martyred Saturday, according to Turkish military.
In a statement, the Turkish General Staff added 11 other Turkish soldiers were also injured in the operation.
Earlier, the military said in a separate statement that an ATAK helicopter crashed at around 1 p.m. (1000GMT) during Afrin operation Saturday; two pilots were martyred.
So far, nearly 1,180 terrorists have been neutralized during the Operation Olive Branch, which was launched on Jan. 20 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 Syrian people from cruelty and oppression of terrorists.
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, the military said.
The military has also said that only terrorist targets are being destroyed and "utmost care" is being shown to avoid harming civilians.
Afrin has been a major hideout for the PYD/PKK terrorists since July 2012 when the Assad regime in Syria left the city to the terror group without a fight.