Turkish army hits 30-40 vehicle convoy in Afrin
ANKARA – Anadolu Agency
The Turkish Armed Forces bombed a convoy of 30-40 vehicles belonging to the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) on Feb. 22 during “Operation Olive Branch” in Syria’s northwestern district of Afrin.
The convoy was intercepted about 15 kilometers southeast of Afrin town, according to a statement issued by the Turkish General Staff.
It was carrying ammunition and weapons to the militants, the statement said.
“Only the convoy belonging to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party/Kurdistan Communities Union/Democratic Union Party-Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units [PKK/KCK/PYD-YPG] and DAESH terrorist groups was targeted during the operation, and utmost importance was given not to harm any civilians,” the statement added, using the Arabic acronym for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
A video showing the Turkish army striking the convoy was also posted on YouTube on Feb. 22, in which heavy smoke can be seen after the targets were hit. But YouTube lifted the video on the same day, after which the Turkish military shared the same video on its Twitter account. Meanwhile, early on Feb. 23, YouTube put the video back and released an official statement, saying that the video was removed “by mistake.”
Meanwhile, “at least 1,873 militants have been neutralized” since the beginning of “Operation Olive Branch” in Syria’s northwestern district of Afrin, the Turkish General Staff said on Feb. 23.
Turkish authorities often use the word “neutralized” in their statements to imply the militants in question either surrendered or were killed or captured.
‘Two more villages cleared’
The Turkish Armed Forces and allies the Free Syrian Army (FSA) on Feb. 23 cleared two villages in Afrin, state-run Anadolu Agency has reported.
Since “Operation Olive Branch” began on Jan. 20, the Turkish military and the FSA have taken control of 101 targets - including one district center, 73 villages, 20 strategic mountains and hills and one YPG base, the agency has also said.
Turkey launched “Operation Olive Branch” on Jan. 20 to clear Afrin of the YPG, a militant group Ankara sees as a terrorist organization for its links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).