01:38 GMT +321 September 2019
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    Pro-Turkey Syrian fighters and Turkish troops secure the Bursayah hill, which separates the Kurdish-held enclave of Afrin from the Turkey-controlled town of Azaz, Syria, Sunday, Jan. 28, 2018

    Turkish Troops Gain Control Over Nearly Half of Afrin Operation Area - Official

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    ANKARA (Sputnik) - The Turkish army in cooperation with militias loyal to Ankara have established their control over almost half of the territory of the Syrian northern district of Afrin, where Turkey is holding a military operation against the Kurdish militants, the Turkish deputy prime minister said Monday.

    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.

    "The [Turkish] Armed Forces have already established control over approximately half of the Afrin territory, where the Olive Branch operation is being held," Bekir Bozdag told reporters.

    The official added that the Turkish troops had "neutralized" 2,795 militants and drove the Kurdish fighters from 112 settlements across the area of the operation.

    Earlier in the day, the General Staff of the Turkish Armed Forces said that the Turkish forces had killed or captured 2,777 militants of the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), the Democratic Union Party (PYD), and the Daesh* terrorist group since the start of Operation Olive Branch.

    Damascus has condemned the operation as a violation of Syria's sovereignty.

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

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    Tags:
    olive branch operation, Daesh, Turkish Armed Forces, Afrin, Turkey, Syria
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