Turkish army says 153 terror targets hit in Afrin op.

Turkish army says 153 terror targets hit in Afrin op.

Turkish General Staff says 'Operation Olive Branch' continues as planned

By Sarp Ozer

ANKARA (AA) - Turkish warplanes and artillery have hit 153 PYD/PKK and Daesh targets in Syria's Afrin, the Turkish General Staff said Sunday.

"So far, 153 targets, which were used as shelters, hideouts and ammunition depots by terrorist organizations PKK/KCK/PYD-YPG and Daesh, have been targeted," said Turkish General Staff in a fresh statement.

"Operation Olive Branch continues as planned," the General Staff also said on the second day of the operation.

The Operation Olive Branch -- aimed at eliminating PYD/PKK and Daesh elements in Syria's Afrin -- was launched at 5 p.m. (GMT1400) on Saturday.

The operation was being carried out under the framework of Turkey’s rights based on international law, UN Security Council’s decisions, self-defense rights under the UN charter and respect to Syria's territorial integrity, the military added.

The military also said only terrorist targets were being destroyed and 'utmost importance' was being given to not harm any civilian.

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 putting up a fight.

The Turkish cities of Kilis and Hatay across the Syrian border are within the firing range of the PYD/PKK group from Afrin, which sits atop a hill. The terror group has also used Amanos Mountains to penetrate from Syria into Turkey.

The PYD/PKK depends on Afrin to connect to the Mediterranean from northwestern Syria. The terrorist organization has also threatened the gains made from Operations Euphrates Shield and Idlib de-escalation zone over Afrin. A quarter of Syria land and 65 percent of Turkey-Syria border are currently under occupation of the terrorist organization.

Operation Euphrates Shield began in August 2016 and ended in late March 2017 to improve security, support coalition forces and eliminate the terror threat along the Turkish border.

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