More than 300 terrorists had been killed since the beginning of the operation in Syria's Afrin, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said on Thursday.
The minister stressed that the offensive is carried out within the framework of the law and aimed at protecting not only the Turkish borders, but also Europe as a whole.
"We will not allow the creation of any terrorist corridor," — Yildirim added.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan arrived on Thursday in the southern province of Hatay on the border with Syria to conduct an inspection of the Turkish military contingent deployed there to participate in a military operation in Syria, Turkey's NTV television reported. According to NTV, Erdogan visited the headquarters of the operation and received reports from military commanders.
Cumhurbaşkanımız Sayın Recep Tayyip Erdoğan Hatay’da— Hüseyin Şanverdi (@hsanverdi) January 25, 2018
Cumhurbaşkanımız Sn Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Genelkurmay Başkanımız Orgeneral Sn Hulusi Akar'la akşam saatlerinde Ankara'dan #ZeytinDalıHarekatı'nın sevk ve idaresinden sorumlu olan 2. Ordu'nun Hatay'daki Harekat Merkezi'ne geldi pic.twitter.com/CusBHJVXCX
Binali Yildirim also called unacceptable the situation where "one NATO member state protects its borders from a terrorist threat, while another NATO member supplies terrorists with weapons," referring to the military assistance provided by the United States to the Kurdish militias in Syria.
As for the losses, Turkey's General Staff announced Wednesday that according to its estimates, total of 287 terrorists were killed in the first four days of the operation, a claim refuted bu the YPG militia representative telling Sputnik that no more than 15-20 Kurdish militiamen had been killed. An SDF representative speaking to Reuters said that militia had caused dozens of casualties among Turkish and allied Free Syrian Army militia since the start of the fighting.
The Kurdish enclave in Syria’s Afrin has been the apple of discord between the US and Turkey ever since the beginning of Syria’s civil war. The US views the YPG units as effective force in fighting Daesh in the region thus providing weapons and training support for them. Ankara in its turn considers the YPG fighters as a terrorist group, since it suspects the militia of ties with the Kurdistan Worker's Party (PKK) banned in Turkey as it has been waging an armed conflict in the country trying to gain autonomy and equal rights for Kurds living in Turkey.