Turkish soldiers, Free Syrian Army capture another hill

Turkish soldiers, Free Syrian Army capture another hill

Turkey’s ongoing Operation Olive Branch in Afrin in northwestern Syria enters 10th day

By Levent Tok

AZEZ, Syria (AA) - Turkish soldiers and Free Syrian Army (FSA) fighters captured another strategic hill in northwestern Syria on Monday as Turkey’s ongoing Operation Olive Branch in Afrin entered the 10th day.

Hill 915 was targeted in the morning in southern Raju township in western Afrin and later it was taken under control along with all surrounding checkpoints that had been set by the PYD/PKK terror group, according to a security source, who asked not to be named due to restrictions on talking to the media.

So far, 21 areas – among them 15 villages, a settlement and five strategic mountains and hills located around Afrin – have been freed from the terror group.

On Monday, Turkish army announced the capture of a strategic border peak as efforts to clear PYD/PKK terrorists from the area continue.

On Jan. 20, Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch along with the FSA to clear out PYD/PKK and Daesh terrorists from Afrin.

As the operation entered the 10th day, the Turkish General Staff announced that at least 597 PYD/PKK and Daesh terrorists had been "neutralized" since the beginning of Operation Olive Branch in 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 to protect Syrians from oppression and cruelty 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, it said.

The military also said only terror targets were being destroyed and that "utmost importance and sensitivity" was being given to not harm any civilian.

Afrin has been a major hideout for the PYD/PKK since July 2012, when the Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria left the city to the terror group without putting up a fight.

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