Afrin operation close to 'victory': Erdoğan
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Feb. 17 said Turkey’s ongoing operation in the northwestern Syrian district of Afrin against the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) is approaching “victory” with each passing day.
Erdoğan was addressing the crowd prior to the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) provincial congress in the Central Anatolian province of Afyon.
“We were always patient and told [the militants]: ‘Know your place.’ But those within Turkish borders [the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party] have been active. For the last 40 years, my nation has suffered a lot from terrorists inside [Turkey]. And now those inside our country [PKK] have joined forces with those terrorists in Syria … But we are getting closer to victory with each passing day,” he said.
The president stated that the Turkish military has so far brought under control 300 square kilometers during the Afrin operation.
He also repeated that Turkey aims to repatriate 3 million Syrian refugees, currently in Turkey, in their country once the war in Syria is over.
“This is what we are struggling for. We do not have our eyes on Syrian lands,” Erdoğan said.
On Jan. 20, the Turkish military, alongside elements of the Free Syrian Army (FSA), launched “Operation Olive Branch” to clear YPG militants from Afrin. The Turkish General Staff says the operation aims to establish security and stability along Turkey’s borders and in the region.