ADDS INTENSIFIED CLASHES AT MT. BURSAYA; REVISED BACKGROUND, OTHER EDITS
By Omer Koparan and Levent Tok
AZAZ/AFRIN, Syria (AA) - Heavy clashes erupted on Sunday between Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) fighters and the PYD/PKK terrorist group at Mt. Bursaya in Afrin, Syria, a peak the group has used to launch attacks on civilians.
Turkish military and FSA forces engaged in heavy clashes with the PYD/PKK terrorist group in northwestern Syria, according to Anadolu Agency reporters in the region.
The airstrikes followed intensified clashes, were heard from Turkey’s border province of Kilis, after Turkish and FSA forces started advancing towards Mt. Bursaya later on Sunday.
PYD/PKK towers and positions on the mountain took heavy artillery fire from Turkish forces.
The battle at Mt. Bursaya, a strategic peak in northeast Afrin, intensified early Sunday as Turkish-backed forces continue to rid more territories of the PYD/PKK as part of Operation Olive Branch in northwestern Syria, said the reporters.
The terrorist group has used 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 Wednesday two civilians were killed by a PYD/PKK attack on a mosque in Kilis, and on Saturday at least three civilians, including a child, were injured by PYD/PKK terrorist attacks on Kilis and Hatay.
Eliminating terrorists from Mt. Bursaya will help Turkey reduce the terror threat at its border and protect civilians in Syria.
Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch on Jan. 20 to remove 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.
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.