Turkey Didn't Promise Russia to Limit Military Op in Syria to Afrin - Deputy PM

© REUTERS / Mahmoud HebboA general view shows the Kurdish-controlled city of Afrin, northern Syria. (File)
A general view shows the Kurdish-controlled city of Afrin, northern Syria. (File) - Sputnik International
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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.

READ MORE: Ankara's Operation in Afrin Weakens US Positions in Syria — Turkish Party Chair

The General Staff of the Turkish Armed Forces announced the launch of the operation Olive Branch on January 20. It's stated aim is to eradicate the Kurdish armed groups in Afrin, home to about 1.5 million Syrian Kurds.

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According to the latest information, Turkish planes hit over 170 targets in the region. The Syrian Democratic Forces say 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 is doing its upmost to avoid deaths among civilians during the operation and said that no civilians were killed.

READ MORE: Kremlin Underscores Fundamental Importance of Syria's Territorial Integrity

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.

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