Turkish army continues to advance in Afrin
The Turkish military and the Free Syrian Army (FSA) on March 6 continued to advance in the northwestern Syrian district of Afrin as part of “Operation Olive Branch,” clearing Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) from the town center of Sharan, state-run Anadolu Agency has reported.
Turkish troops and FSA members reportedly took three more villages - including Khirabat Sharanli, Sharanli and Shirkan - located northwest of Afrin.
The Turkish General Staff said in a statement on March 6 that a total of 2,872 militants have been “neutralized” since the start of the Afrin operation.
The Turkish authorities often use the word “neutralized” in their statements to imply the militants in question either surrendered or were killed or captured.
“Operation Olive Branch” was launched on Jan. 20 to clear Afrin of YPG militants.
Ankara sees the YPG as a terror group for its links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has been designated as a terror group by the U.S., the EU and Turkey.
According to the Turkish General Staff, the operation inside Syria aims to establish security and stability along Turkey’s borders and the region as well as “protect Syrians from terrorist cruelty and oppression.”