More than 2600 YPG militants 'neutralized' in Afrin op in Syria's north

More than 2600 YPG militants 'neutralized' in Afrin op in Syria's north

F-16 fighters of the Turkish Air Force are involved in the operation, inflicting strikes on the positions of PYD/YPG on the Syrian-Turkish border.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said fierce clashes were still being reported in Rajo.

At least 2,612 terrorists have been "neutralized" in Operation Olive Branch in Syria's Afrin, the Turkish military said Sunday.

Mohammed Faraj, a commander of pro-Syrian government forces in Afrin, accused Turkey of not "complying with the truce ... by shelling villages and civilians indiscriminately".

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Meanwhile, Turkish forces also took control of Shaykh al-Hadid located west of Afrin.

Afrin has been a major stronghold for the YPG since July 2012, when the Syrian government left the city to the group without a fight.

Since the launch of the operation, Turkish military and the FSA liberated 129 locations including three town centers, 98 villages, 21 strategic mountains and hills and one YPG/PKK base.

The 50,000-strong YPG has allied with the USA in eradicating the Islamic State group from northern Syria and have been armed by the U.S. since May 2017.

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Turkey said it wants to oust the Syrian Kurdish People's Protection Units, or YPG, from Afrin, considering the group a terrorist organisation, an extension of a Kurdish insurgency within its own borders.

In a phone call on Monday between French President Emmanuel Macron and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan about the latest developments in Syria, Erdogan said that "utmost care" is being taken to avoiding harming civilians.

Thousands of civilians in Afrin have fled their homes since Turkey's offensive began.

Strikes on the area of Kafr Janna were the third such raid in less than 48 hours. Fourteen pro-government fighters were killed Thursday and four on Friday by Turkish airstrikes, according to the monitoring group, which is based in Britain.

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Turkish-led Syrian fighters have advanced steadily since January 20 when they launched an assault on Afrin, controlled by the Kurdish YPG. Ankara says the operation is aimed at battling terrorists in the region, including the YPG.

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