Ankara has been conducting a military operation in Syria’s Afrin since Saturday, with Turkish aircraft launching airstrikes in the area and troops crossing the border to get into the region. The Turkish leadership has claimed it aims to crush militant groups operating in Northern Syria.
Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag said Monday Ankara did not make promises to Russia or other states that it would limit its ongoing offensive, known as the Olive Branch operation, in Syria to Afrin.
Bozdag also stated that Turkey had warned about the start of the offensive prior to the beginning of the operation.
The General Staff of the Turkish Armed Forces announced the launch of the “Olive Branch” operation on January 20. It’s stated aim was to eradicate the Kurdish amred groups in Afrin, home to about 1.5 million Syrian Kurds.
According to the latest information, Turkish planes hit over 170 targets in the region. According the Syrian Democratic Forces, at least 18 people were killed in the operation. The Turkish General Staff has claimed those killed “were terrorists.”
Commenting on the civilian casualties, Bozdag pointed out that Ankara pays the maximum attention to avoid deaths among civilians during the operation and said that no civilians were killed.
According to Prime Minister Yildirim, Ankara hopes to conclude the Afrin operation in four stages, with the final goal of creating the 30-kilometer security zone on the Turkish-Syrian border.