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Turkey Establishes Full Control Over Syria's Afrin District - General Staff

© AP Photo / DHA-Depo PhotosTurkish troops take control of Bursayah hill, which separates the Kurdish-held enclave of Afrin from the Turkey-controlled town of Azaz, Syria, Sunday, Jan. 28, 2018
Turkish troops take control of Bursayah hill, which separates the Kurdish-held enclave of Afrin from the Turkey-controlled town of Azaz, Syria, Sunday, Jan. 28, 2018 - Sputnik International
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MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The Turkish Armed Forces have established full control over Syrian northern district of Afrin, the General Staff of the Turkish Armed Forces said Saturday.

"All villages have been cleared from terrorists. Afrin is under full control [of Turkish Armed Forces]," the General Staff said, as quoted by the NTV broadcaster.

On January 20, Ankara, jointly with the opposition Free Syrian Army forces, launched Operation Olive Branch in Afrin in order to "clear" Turkey's Syrian border from the terrorist threat.

READ MORE: After Afrin: How Far East Will Erdogan Go?

People sit in a truck with their belongings in the north east of Afrin, Syria March 15, 2018 - Sputnik International
Dire Situation in Afrin: 'Residents Who Fled Are Sleeping on Ground, in Cars'
On January 20, Ankara, jointly with the opposition Free Syrian Army forces, launched Operation Olive Branch in Afrin in order to "clear" Turkey's Syrian border from the terrorist threat.

Turkey considers the Democratic Union Party (PYD), a Kurdish political party in northern Syria, and the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) militia to be linked to the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), listed as a terrorist organization by Ankara.

Ankara's Olive Branch Operation in Afrin has been strongly condemned by Damascus, calling Turkey's move "a violation of the country's sovereignty." In response, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said that preservation of the territorial integrity of Syria is the common goal of Ankara and Damascus and that Turkish troops are not going to attack government forces in Syria.

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