3,213 militants 'neutralized' in Afrin op: Erdoğan
A total of 3,213 militants have been "neutralized" since the start of Operation Olive Branch in Syria's northwestern Afrin region, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on March 10.
The Turkish General Staff had put the figure as 3,195 earlier on the same day.
Turkish authorities often use the word "neutralized" in their statements to imply the militants in question either surrendered or were killed or captured.
Meanwhile, the Turkish military and Free Syrian Army (FSA) on March 10 took seven more villages in Afrin from Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) militants, state-run Anadolu Agency has reported.
The villages of Babak Ushagi, Qorta, and Qasha in Bulbul were cleared of YPG.
Later on on March 10, four more villages -- the villages of Kafr Rum and Qurt Qulaq in the northeastern Sharan district, Zellaka in the southwestern Jinderes district, and Kfar Zeit in Afrin’s city center -- were seized by the Turkish military and FSA forces.
Since the beginning of the Afrin operation, the Turkish military and Free Syrian Army have seized 171 locations, including five town centers, 135 villages, 31 strategic areas, and one YPG base.
On March 9, Erdoğan said that Turkish-backed troops had surrounded the Afrin city center and were ready to enter at any moment.
On Jan. 20, the Turkish military, alongside elements of the Free Syrian Army, launched “Operation Olive Branch” to clear YPG militants from Afrin.
The Turkish General Staff said the operation aims to establish security and stability along Turkey’s borders and in the region.