The new Olive Branch Customs Gate crossing to the northwestern Syrian city of Afrin began operations on Thursday to accelerate the delivery of humanitarian aid, Turkish Trade Minister Ruhsar Pekcan said on Friday.
"Olive Branch Customs Gate crossing to northwestern Syrian city of Afrin became operational on Nov. 8," Ruhsar Pekcan said at the parliament's plan and budget commission.
The new customs gate was named after Turkey's Operation Olive Branch, which was launched on Jan. 20 to free Afrin of YPG/PKK and Daesh terrorists. On March 18, Turkish troops and the Free Syrian Army liberated the Afrin district center.
In April, the then Customs and Trade Minister Bulent Tufenkci said the gate will speed up the delivery of humanitarian aid to Afrin and meet the infrastructure needs of the region.
Tufenkci also noted its contribution to the promotion of trade in the region.
Turkish authorities stepped up humanitarian support to civilians in the city of Afrin after it was liberated by Turkish-backed forces as part of Operation Olive Branch.
The operation aims to establish security and stability along Turkey’s borders and the region as well as to protect Syrians from terrorist oppression and cruelty, according to the Turkish General Staff.