42 soldiers killed, 202 injured so far in Afrin operation: Turkish Deputy PM
A total of 42 soldiers have been killed and some 202 soldiers injured since the start of “Operation Olive Branch” in Syria’s northwestern Afrin district, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister and government spokesman Bekir Bozdağ said on March 12 following a Cabinet meeting in the capital Ankara.
“Additionally, following the rockets fired by terrorists from the Afrin region into Turkey and attacks undertaken, seven of our civilians have been martyred, and 125 of our citizens have been injured [since the start of the operation],” he said.
The Turkish military and Free Syrian Army (FSA) militants have so far seized a total of 1,102 square kilometers from the Syrian-Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), the deputy prime minister said, adding that the area of operation covered 1,920 square kilometers.
“Currently, more than half of the area is under our control. The infrastructure and superstructure of every region cleared of terrorists is brought under control, and will be made operational quickly. Every kind of security risk will be eliminated in the region; and the region will be made habitable,” he said.
“All the crucial places in the immediate vicinity of Afrin have been put under our control. Hopefully Afrin’s center will soon be cleared of terrorists and the local community will be saved from the cruelty and oppression of the terrorists.”
Only minutes after Bozdağ announced the military deaths as 42, the Turkish General Staff said one soldier was killed while another was injured in the operation on March 12.
Meanwhile, the Turkish military and FSA militants have encircled the Afrin town center, the General Staff said on March 13.