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Turkish Foreign Ministry Insists Afrin Invasion Targets Terrorists, Amid Censure

© AP PhotoTurkish artillery fires toward Syrian Kurdish positions in Afrin area, Syria, from Turkish side of the border in Hatay, Turkey, Friday, Feb. 9, 2018
Turkish artillery fires toward Syrian Kurdish positions in Afrin area, Syria, from Turkish side of the border in Hatay, Turkey, Friday, Feb. 9, 2018 - Sputnik International
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MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The Turkish Foreign Ministry underscored that the Turkish operation in Syria's Afrin was targeting terrorists, not civilians, in response to a statement by the US State Department.

Heather Nauert, the spokeswoman for the US Department of State, said Monday that Washington was extremely concerned over the situation in the city of Afrin because of reports that most residents had to leave the city as they feared attacks by the Turkish forces.

"The statement made today by the Spokesperson of the US Department of State regarding the situation in Afrin reveals that the US authorities still cannot or unfortunately do not want to comprehend the reason, purpose and nature of Operation Olive Branch. Operation Olive Branch is a counter-terrorism operation. The operation in no way targets civilians," spokesman Hami Aksoy said in a published statement on Monday.

READ MORE: Erdogan Claims Control of Afrin, Local Gov't Vows 'Nightmare' for Turks (VIDEO)

The spokesman for the Turkish Foreign Ministry stressed that the goal of Operation Olive Branch was to help civilians oppressed by terrorists. The Foreign Ministry noted that this campaign did in no way undermine the fight against the Daesh* terrorist organization.

The Turkish General Staff announced the beginning of the operation in Afrin on January 20. The Turkish military forces and the Free Syrian Army militia are leading the campaign.

Damascus has condemned the operation as damaging Syria's territorial integrity. On Monday, the Syrian Foreign Ministry noted that Turkey declaring that it took control of Afrin was unacceptable.

*Daesh (also known as ISIS/ISIL/IS) is a terrorist group banned in Russia

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