Turkish troops and Free Syrian Army take control of key town in Afrin

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TOPSHOT - A Turkish-backed Syrian rebel fighters hold Turkish national flag (R) and Free Syrian Army flags (L) at a checkpoint in the Syrian town of Azaz on a road leading to Afrin, on February 1, 2018. Clashes raged between Turkish-backed forces and Kurdish militia in Syria's Afrin region on January 31, 2018, as wounded civilians fled intense Turkish air strikes. Turkey and allied Syrian rebels have pressed on with Operation Olive Branch in the Kurdish-controlled Afrin enclave despite mounting international concern and reports of rising civilian casualties. / AFP PHOTO / OZAN KOSE

In addition to Rajo town centre, the Turkish military and the Free Syrian Army have also liberated five more villages from the YPG terror group during Operation Olive Branch in Syria’s Afrin region.

A member of Free Syrian Army (FSA) is seen in Rajo after Turkish Armed Forces and FSA members cleared the the town from YPG on March 3, 2018.
A member of Free Syrian Army (FSA) is seen in Rajo after Turkish Armed Forces and FSA members cleared the the town from YPG on March 3, 2018. (AA)

The Turkish Armed Forces and Free Syrian Army (FSA) on Saturday liberated five more villages from the PKK-linked YPG and took control of Rajo’s town centre during Operation Olive Branch in Syria’s northwestern Afrin region.

Two villages in the southwest of Afrin and three in the northeast of the city were liberated, Anadolu Agency reported.

Clashes continue in Rajo’s town centre as Turkish forces thwart attacks by militants who are yet to surrender, while mines are being searched and swept.

TRT World‘s Hasan Abdullah reports the latest from the Turkish city of Kilis near the Syrian border.

Rajo, located in the northwest of Afrin, is the second town centre liberated since the launch of the operation. The Bulbul district was the first.

As of February 26, Turkish forces and the FSA cut the YPG’s connection with Turkey’s border in Afrin by securing a crescent-shaped corridor stretching along Syria’s northwestern Idlib province and Aleppo province’s Azaz district.

Since the launch of the operation on January 20, the Turkish military and the FSA have liberated 126 locations including two district centres, 96 villages, 21 strategic mountains and hills and one YPG base.

Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch to clear Afrin of the YPG.

According to the Turkish General Staff, the operation aims to establish security and stability along Turkey’s borders and the region as well as to protect Syrians from terrorist oppression and cruelty.

The operation is being carried out under the framework of Turkey’s rights based on international law, UN Security Council resolutions, its self-defense rights under the UN charter, and respect for Syria’s territorial integrity, it said.

The military also said only terror targets are being destroyed and that “utmost care” is being taken to avoid harming civilians.

Source: AA
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