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Erdoğan says Turkish military getting closer to city of Afrin

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Saturday said Turkish troops are getting closer to the Syrian city of Afrin, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

The Turkish military and Free Syrian Army (FSA) fighters on Jan. 20 launched Operation Olive Branch in Afrin against the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), which Turkey sees as the Syrian extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

“The mountains there are being taken, thank God. We are advancing into Afrin [city center]. We are close,” Erdoğan said, addressing the public in the eastern province of Bitlis during a ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) congress.

The Turkish military stated on Saturday that a total of 897 PYD/PKK and Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) members have been “neutralized” since the beginning of the operation in Afrin.

Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım on Friday announced that five civilians have been killed and more than 100 others injured in 82 rocket attacks from across the Syrian border since the start of the military operation in northwestern Syria on Jan. 20.

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