Turkey says ‘neutralized’ over 300 militants in Afrin

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Members of Free Syrian Army (FSA), backed by Turkish Army, patrol in Azez region of Aleppo, Syria within the "Operation Olive Branch" against PYD/PKK in Afrin, on January 24, 2018. Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch on January 20, 2018 in Syria's northwestern Afrin region. AFP

The Turkish military said Thursday that 303 Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) militants have been “neutralized” since the beginning of Operation Olive Branch on Saturday in the PYD-controlled Afrin region of Syria.

Turkey views the PYD as the Syrian extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

According to the state-run Anadolu news agency, the Turkish military also stated that it had “destroyed six targets used as weapons pits, shelters and ammunition depots by PYD and Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant [ISIL] terrorists.’

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Wednesday said seven or eight Turkish soldiers have been killed since the beginning of Operation Olive Branch.

Turkey with Free Syrian Army forces took control of the Jarablus and Al Bab areas in northern Syria during an operation against ISIL militants between August 2016 and March 2017.

More than 70 soldiers were lost during Operation Euphrates Shield, which was evaluated as a strategic move to prevent unification of areas controlled by the Kurdish PYD.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Oct. 8 said Turkey would not allow a Kurdish corridor in Syria extending along the Turkish border to the Mediterranean.

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