Turkish gov’t detained 786 people for opposing Afrin operation so far

File photo.

Turkish government has detained at least 786 people over their critical stance against Turkish military operation in Afrin region of northern Syria so far, according to official data.

The Turkish Interior Ministry said in a statement on Monday that a total of 85 demonstrations have been held in protest against the Afrin offensive since the beginning of the operation on January 20, 2018. A total of 786 people were detained for either attending such protests or “making propaganda against the offensive on social media,” according to the statement made by the ministry.

The Turkish General Staff said in a statement on Monday that a total of 1,641 PYD/PKK and alleged ISIL militants have been “neutralized” since the launch of Operation Olive Branch in Syria’s northwestern Afrin region. Turkish authorities often use the word “neutralized” in their statements to imply the terrorists in question either surrendered or were killed or captured.

Meanwhile, pro-Assad regime “Popular Forces” will enter Afrin in northwestern Syria where a Turkish military operation is ongoing, according to media outlets close to Syrian regime on Monday. Assad regime’s state-run news agency SANA reported that the pro-Assad militia called Popular Forces was going to enter Afrin within a few hours.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu on Monday reasserted Turkey’s sensitivity towards Syria’s territorial integrity and warned Bashar al-Assad regime against supporting YPG/PKK in Afrin. Çavuşoğlu was speaking at a joint news conference with his Jordanian counterpart Ayman Safadi in capital Amman.

“Now, ‘will the regime enter there? If they do, what for?’ that is important. If regime enters to clear out the PKK, YPG then there is no problem. If they are entering [Afrin] to provide protection to the YPG, then no one can stop Turkey or Turkish soldiers. This is not for Afrin only, but also for Manbij and for east of Euphrates too,” he added.

On Jan. 20, Turkish military launched Operation Olive Branch in Afrin. According to the Turkish General Staff, 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.”

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