12:21 GMT03 August 2021
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    Wednesday marks the 5th day of Ankara's Olive Branch operation, which it launched in Afrin, Syria to suppress the Kurds they call 'terrorists' after the US announced the intention to create border forces consisting of 30,000 troops.

    “By launching the Olive Branch operation, we have stopped the games of different powers who seek to implement their plans in our region. We will completely clear the region of terrorists, beginning with [the Syrian city of] Manbij and throughout our entire border [with Syria], ensuring our security,” President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in his speech to the heads of local governments in Ankara.

    "I have doubts of the humanity of those who support this organisation (YPG) and call Turkey an invader," Erdogan said in a speech in Ankara, commenting on the offensive against the Kurdish group YPG that Ankara deems to be a terrorist organization.

    The president also called on international NGOs to support Turkey's Olive Branch operation against the Kurdish forces in Syria's Afrin district.

    "Our military suffered losses, some were killed and some wounded in Operation Olive Branch. For the first four days of the operation, the number of those killed in the ranks of the Turkish Armed Forces and the Syrian opposition was seven or eight, while the enemy's manpower losses were 268," Erdogan said.

    READ MORE: Operation Olive Branch Could Actually Improve Turkish-Syrian Ties — Analyst

    On Tuesday, an informed source told Sputnik that Erdogan discussed the Afrin operation with Putin in phone call and stressed that it aimed at ensuring Turkey's national security and the liberation of Afrin from terrorist groups. Ankara considers Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) to be terrorist units.

    "We will finish this operation very quickly. Terrorists are fleeing from there and we will chase them. Our aircraft are bombing them and the ground operation has started. We are conducting the operation to protect our borders," Erdogan said earlier, as quoted by the broadcaster NTV.

    On January 20, the Turkish Armed Forces launched an operation, called Olive Branch, against the Kurdish forces in Syria's Afrin district. The Turkish government said it had informed Damascus and Moscow, its co-guarantor in the Syrian peace process, of its operation, and has taken into account the position of Tehran, the third guarantor state.

    Prior to the beginning of this offensive, Turkey has repeatedly threatened to launch a military intervention in Afrin after the US announced its intent to start training a border protection force, which would include the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which Ankara called a "terrorist army."


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