Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim has confirmed that Ankara’s military operation in the northern Syrian district of Afrin has resulted in the partial surrounding of the city controlled by the Kurds and Kurdish militias being cut off from the Syrian-Turkish border.
“We leave behind the 39th day in our ‘Operation Olive Branch.’ Our soldiers continue to carry out the operation from land and air with utmost determination. Afrin has been surrounded by a crescent-like shape,” Yildirim said Tuesday, as quoted by Hurriyet Daily News.
The prime minister added that within the course of the operation, Turkish troops backed by militias loyal to Ankara had been advancing in the region, while Turkish police units and forest guards had been ensuring order in the areas under the Turkish forces’ control.
On Monday, Turkish media reported that the Turkish servicemen in cooperation with the Free Syrian Army (FSA) opposition group had cut off the troops of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) from the borders, forming a crescent around Afrin as well as separating Turkish territory and the area controlled by Kurdish militias.
Ankara has been carrying out the operation dubbed Olive Branch since January 20, in the wake of the US announcement that a new border force largely dominated by the People’s Protection Units (YPG), which Turkey considers to be terrorists, would be formed by Washington.