Some 649 militants have been “neutralized” since the beginning of Turkey’s “Operation Olive Branch” in Syria’s northwestern district of Afrin, the Turkish Armed Forces announced on Jan. 30.
“Neutralized” is a term used by the Turkish military and officials to indicate militants were either killed, wounded or captured.
“Some 649 targets of the PKK [outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party], KCK [Kurdistan Communities Union], PYD/YPG [Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party/People’s Protection Units], and ISIL [the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant] terror organizations have been destroyed,” the army said in its statement.
The military said it was taking the utmost care during the operation to not harm any civilians.
“The only ones being targeted are terrorists, and any shelters, pits, weapons, vehicles, and equipment that belong to them,” it said.
The operation, which was named “Operation Olive Branch,” is “successfully continuing as planned,” the military added.
Meanwhile, the Turkish Armed Forces and its ally, the Free Syrian Army (FSA), on Jan. 29 completely seized a Syrian hill, the 915th Hill, from the YPG as part of the operation.
In addition to the hill, 15 villages, six residential areas and 21 locations, including five strategic hills and mountains, were seized in five of Afrin’s regions.
The Turkish Armed Forces also reportedly distributed fliers prepared in three languages to Afrin locals, calling for “solidarity against terror groups” and restating its policy that “Afrin belongs to its locals.”
Turkey on Jan. 20 launched a massive military operation against the YPG in Afrin and vowed that it will expand it to the Manbij area of Syria where YPG troops are located along with U.S. forces.