Istanbul: Turkish forces will remain in Syria’s Afrin region that was recently liberated from the control of Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PYD/PKK), Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday.
“We will remain in Afrin and we will be there until we assure its security,” Erdogan said at the Istanbul Youth Festival, and added that Idlib, Tal Rifaat and Manbij, the other war-torn Syrian provinces, would be next, reported the Anadolu Agency.
Afrin town center was liberated from Kurdish forces on March 18, under Operation Olive Branch carried out by Turkish forces and Free Syrian Army (FSA) rebels under the
The operation ‘Olive Branch’ was launched on January 20 to clear PYD/PKK and IS terrorists from Afrin in northwestern Syria.
The PKK, which is based in Turkey, Iraq and parts of Syria, has been involved in an armed conflict with Turkey for the past few years. Its aim is to achieve the objective of creating an independent Kurdish state.
It has been listed as a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.
President Erdogan also said that if Operation Euphrates Shield, held from August 2016 to late March 2017, was conducted sooner, “Kilis [southern province of Turkey] wouldn’t be hit so many times.
Turkey’s Kilis province was targeted by terrorists while the country carried out Operation Olive Branch in Syria.
On March 19, 48 rocket attacks from across the border killed two civilians and injured 38 others, according to the Kilis governor.