Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) neutralized at least 39 PYD/PKK and Daesh terrorists during the ongoing operation in Syria’s Afrin that also left nine Turkish soldiers martyred Saturday, according to Turkish military.
In a statement, the Turkish General Staff added 11 other Turkish soldiers were also injured in the operation.
Earlier, the military said in a separate statement that an ATAK helicopter crashed at around 1 p.m. (1000GMT) during Afrin operation Saturday; two pilots were martyred.
So far, nearly 1,180 terrorists have been neutralized during the Operation Olive Branch, which was launched on Jan. 20 to remove PYD/PKK and Daesh terrorists from Afrin.
Western countries admit links between PYD/YPG, PKK/KCK
A number of countries including the U.S., Germany and the U.K. admitted that PYD and YPG are Syrian offshoots of the terrorist PKK/KCK group.PKK is a terror group that has waged a more than 30-year war against the Turkish state.According to information compiled by Anadolu Agency reporters, the organic link between the terror groups was revealed by organizations and intelligence services of those countries.The PYD/PKK terrorist organization, which the U.S. regards as an "ally" in Syria and provides arms to, was described as a terrorist organization on the CIA website and Salih Muslim was also shown as the leader of the Syrian offspring of PKK.The U.S. National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) website has a page on the PKK, titled "Kongra-Gel (KGK)". However the link to the page, which describes PYD as the Syrian affiliate of the terrorist PKK, is broken.In addition, Obama-era Defense Secretary Ashton Carter had also admitted the relationship between the YPG and the PKK before a Senate panel on the terrorist organization Daesh in 2016.Carter confirmed the connection between the YPG and the PKK when asked by Sen. Lindsey Graham.YPG 'name change' on US request The U.S. State Department also did not make any correction after spokesperson Heather Nauert called the YPG in Afrin, Syria "the PKK"."Turkey has taken its eye off the ball ISIS [Daesh] and is going after the PKK this time," Nauert said last month in a news conference without a correction, referring to Turkey's military operation to remove the PYD/PKK terrorists from Afrin.Last July, Raymond Thomas, the head of U.S. special operations command, urged YPG to rebrand itself to avoid Turkish concerns and give the group a voice in Syria's future."They formally called themselves the YPG, who the Turks would say equated to the PKK," he said. "So we literally played back to them that you’ve got to change your brand. What do you want to call yourself beside the YPG? With about a day’s notice, they declared that they were the Syrian Democratic Forces."The name change was vital to getting the group legitimacy in talks about Syria's future, Thomas said.According to NATO sources, PYD was also recognized as a terror organization during a NATO meeting in 2013, and the U.S. ratified the decision.European remarks The UK government also said it is the Turkish government’s legitimate right to defend itself against the PKK violence.“We are very concerned over possible links. We don’t seek any link with the PKK and ourselves in any way,” said Alistair Burt, Minister of State for the Middle East, speaking at a session of the House of Commons’ Foreign Affairs Committee.“We urge the PYD at all times to sever any links it might have with the PKK,” he added.Dutch Foreign Minister Halbe Zijlstra said late January that Turkey had sufficient grounds for self-defense since the country faced attacks.Referring to the right of self-defence under international law and Article 51 of the UN Charter, Zijlstra said there were “clear attacks” against Turkey which gave the country “sufficient grounds” to defend itself.On January 27, 2016, the Spanish Interior Ministry announced that a total of nine persons -- eight from Spain and one from Turkey -- were arrested over having links to the PKK.According to an indictment approved by a Spanish court, two of the arrested people were allegedly received training in the north of Syria in the fight against Daesh, and joined YPG, the armed force of PKK in north Syria.
French company supplies PKK/PYD in Afrin with cement for tunnels
As terrorists from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK)’s Syrian offshoot, the Democratic Union Party (PYD), receive arms shipments from the U.S., French cement giant Lafarge continues to supply terrorists in Syria’s northwestern Afrin region with building material for tunnels. Lafarge, which maintains an operational cement factory in Manbij’s Suaim region, was previously embroiled in a scandal after evidence detailing its dealings with Daesh terrorists were revealed.Despite the ongoing civil war in Syria, Lafarge’s factory in Manbij has not halted cement production since 2011. Tunnels carry French signature As Turkey’s Operation Olive Branch continues, tunnels built by PKK/PYD terrorists in Afrin using concrete and cement supplied by Lafarge are being used to hinder the ongoing advance of Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) and Free Syrian Army (FSA) units towards the city center.A recently uncovered tunnel network in Afrin was used by the terrorist group as a shelter against jet strikes and other heavy artillery fire amid Turkey’s counterterrorist operations.The tunnels also linked the so-called terrorist command centers with strategic points and surveillance towers, according to local sources who spoke on condition of anonymity due to security concerns.On Jan. 20, Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch to clear PKK/KCK/PYD-YPG and Daesh terrorists from Afrin, northwestern Syria. Lafarge paid Daesh to ensure uninterrupted productionThe factory, which is located in the Manbij region of Sunaim between the towns of Karakozak and Ayn Eissa, continues its cement production uninterrupted. Firas Talss, the son of Assad’s former defense minister, owns significant shares in the factory, which protected its production line when Daesh controlled the area in return for paying terrorists to ensure it was able to run its operations smoothly. Lafarge currently supplies PKK/PYD terrorists with cement produced in its factory in Manbij, according to the region’s people who witnessed cement shipments being delivered to PKK/PYD terrorists from the factory.According to the Turkish General Staff, Operation Olive Branch aims to establish security and stability along Turkey’s borders and the region as well as to protect Syrians from terrorist oppression and cruelty.The operation is being carried out under the framework of Turkey's rights based on international law, UN Security Council resolutions, its self-defense rights under the UN charter, and respect for Syria's territorial integrity, it said.The military also said only terror targets are being destroyed and the "utmost care" is being taken to avoid harming civilians.Two Turkish soldiers martyred after military helicopter downed amid Afrin opTurkey effectively fighting terrorism: Justice min.De-escalation zone in Syria's Afrin discussed at Astana peace talks
Two Turkish soldiers martyred after military helicopter downed amid Afrin op
Two Turkish soldiers were martyred on Saturday after a Turkish military helicopter (ATAK) was downed in the southern Hatay province during Operation Olive Branch."One of our helicopters was downed just recently. These things will happen, we are in a war. We might lose a helicopter, but they'll pay the price for this,” Erdoğan said during a Justice and Development (AK) Party provincial meeting in Istanbul."Our security forces are engaging in a great fight. We destroyed many of their missile depots yesterday," he added.Video: Turkish military destroys 36 terror targets in Syria’s AfrinTurkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım also confirmed the incident in a speech on Saturday, noting that "we have no evidence of any outside interference that may have resulted in the downing of the helicopter."At least 1,141 PKK/KCK/PYD-YPG and Daesh terrorists have been neutralized since the beginning of Operation Olive Branch in Syria's Afrin.The Turkish Armed Forces destroyed 36 terrorist targets and neutralized 79 more terrorists in early Saturday air strikes.On Jan. 20, Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch to clear terrorists from Afrin, northwestern Syria.De-escalation zone in Syria's Afrin discussed at Astana peace talksOver 1,140 terrorists 'neutralized' since launch of Operation Olive BranchTurkish FM criticizes world powers' stance on Afrin op.
According to the Turkish General Staff, the operation aims to establish security and stability along Turkey’s borders and the region as well as protect Syrian people from cruelty and oppression of terrorists.
The operation is being carried out under the framework of Turkey’s rights based on international law, UN Security Council resolutions, its self-defense rights under the UN charter, and respect for Syria's territorial integrity, the military said.
The military has also said that only terrorist targets are being destroyed and "utmost care" is being shown to avoid harming civilians.
Afrin has been a major hideout for the PYD/PKK terrorists since July 2012 when the Assad regime in Syria left the city to the terror group without a fight.