20:08 GMT +323 May 2018
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    Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army fighters remove a picture of Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Ocalan in Kafr Jana village north of Afrin, Syria March 7, 2018

    Turkey Announces Preliminary End Date of Olive Branch Op in Afrin

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    Turkish Foreign Minister Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has said that the country's military will end the operation in Syria's Afrin by early May, CNN Turk reported Thursday.

    Speaking further, Cavusoglu said that Turkey and Iraq would carry out a joint cross-border operation against the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) militant group and it may begin after May 12.

    "[We] will carry out a joint operation against the PKK together with the Iraqi government. The cross-border operation may take place after the election in Iraq on May 12," Cavusoglu was quoted as saying by the NTV broadcaster.

    Ankara launched operation Olive Branch in Afrin, in pursuit of "clearing" the Turkish border with Syria from the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG). Turkish authorities consider the YPG to be linked to the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), listed as a terrorist organization by Ankara.

    READ MORE: Turkey Urges US to Prevent YPG Redeployment From Syria's Manbij to Afrin

    Damascus has firmly condemned the operation as an assault on Syria's sovereignty. Moscow, in turn, has urged all the parties to exercise restraint and called for respect of Syria's territorial integrity.

    Related:

    Syrian Democratic Forces Sending Fighters to Afrin to Help YPG Fight Turks
    Battle for Afrin: 48 Pro-Syrian Gov't Fighters Killed Amid Turkish Op
    Turkish Troops Gain Control Over Nearly Half of Afrin Operation Area - Official
    Tags:
    operation, Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), Mevlut Cavusoglu, Afrin, Turkey
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