UPDATES WITH THE CLEARING OF MASKAH VILLAGE
By Levent Tok and Selen Temizer
AZAZ, Syria/ ANKARA, Turkey (AA) - Turkish Armed Forces and Free Syrian Army (FSA) on Friday cleared two villages in Afrin, northwestern Syria of terrorists as part of Operation Olive Branch, according to Anadolu Agency correspondents on the ground.
The Bafler village is located in southwestern Afrin, while the Maskah village is located in northwestern Afrin in Raju district.
Since the launch of the operation on Jan. 20, the Turkish military and the FSA liberated 101 targets -- including one district center -- plus 73 villages, 20 strategic mountains and hills, and one YPG/PKK-Daesh base.
Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch to remove YPG/PKK-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 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 were being destroyed and "utmost care" was being taken to not harm civilians.