Turkish army clears YPG tunnels, bunkers in Syria’s Afrin
The Turkish military has started clearing tunnels and bunkers which were used by the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), as it advances on ground into the center of Syria’s Afrin as part of “Operation Olive Branch.
The concrete tunnels were reportedly 90 centimeters thick, one-and-a-half meters wide and two meters high, security officials said.
YPG militants used the tunnels, which were covered with sand and stones, to shield them from Turkish airstrikes.
Free Syrian Army (FSA) members and Turkish soldiers captured the Ömer Uşağı village in Afrin’s Raco area on the same day.
Howitzers were continuing to be fired on Afrin from the southern province of Hatay.
A rocket was fired into Hatay’s Kilis district and landed on an empty area in the Öncüpınar neighborhood. There were no casualties or damage.
Over 500 militants ‘neutralized’
The Turkish General Staff stated on Jan. 28 that 579 militants of the YPG and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) have been “neutralized” since the start of “Operation Olive Branch” in Syria, according to state-run Anadolu agency.
On Jan. 20, Turkey launched “Operation Olive Branch” along with the FSA into the northwestern district of Afrin.
“Neutralized” is a term used by the Turkish military and officials to indicate militants were either killed, wounded or captured.
In a statement, the military said the Turkish Armed Forces had destroyed 44 targets in airstrikes that were carried out overnight.
It added that four Turkey-backed FSA members had been slightly injured during the operation.
According to the previous statement issued by the Turkish General Staff, the army “neutralized” 73 militants alone on Jan. 28.
The statement said 13 Turkish jets safely returned to their bases after destroying 20 targets, used as weapon pits, shelters and ammunition depots.
It added that two Turkish soldiers were wounded with no life threatening injuries in clashes with militants.
A FSA member was also killed and four others sustained injuries, according to the statement.
“Operation Olive Branch” is “going successfully and according to plan,” it added.
The military asserted that it was showing the utmost care in order to not harm any civilians during the operation.
Drug pills seized on Mount Bursaya
The Turkish military on Jan. 28 seized a large number of drug pills on Mount Bursaya after capturing the mountain from the YPG in northern Syria.
The Turkish army and the FSA captured the mountain as part of “Operation Olive Branch” in Afrin, denying the YPG a strategic peak.
The seizure came during searches carried out by the Turkish military and the FSA in the shelters and positions on the summit of Mount Bursaya.
Turkey believes that YPG militants have used Mount Bursaya to target civilians in the Turkish province of Kilis and Syria’s Azaz district, controlled by the FSA, through mortar shells, artillery and missiles.