UPDATES WITH MORE VILLAGES CAPTURED, CHANGES DECK, LEDE
By Burak Karacaoglu and Esref Musa
IDLIB, Syria (AA) - Turkish and Free Syrian Army (FSA) forces on Friday liberated four more villages from PYD/PKK terrorists as part of Operation Olive Branch in northwestern Syria, according to Anadolu Agency correspondents on the ground.
The villages of Nesriyya and Dukkan in Jandaris, western Afrin were cleared of PYD/PKK terrorists during the operation.
Turkish troops and the FSA also cleared Nesriyya Hill of terrorists.
Later in the day, Turkish troops and FSA also cleared the villages of Iskan and Juqali Fawqani in Jandaris, western Afrin.
Last night, Turkish aircraft carried out airstrikes in many points of Afrin, including Mt. Baflun, the village of Sheik Huruz, the towns of Sheran and Jandaris, as well as some terrorist meeting points.
Since the operation began, Turkish forces and the FSA have liberated a total of 45 zones, including 28 villages and 13 strategic mountains or hills.
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 people 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, the military said.
The military has also said that only terrorist targets are being destroyed and "utmost care" is being taken to avoid harming 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.