Turkish PM Yıldırım says no troops lost so far in Afrin operation

The Turkish military suffered no losses so far in the Afrin operation, said Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım on Monday bu added that a Turkish soldier had been slightly injured in the Afrin operation. Yıldırım’s remarks came after he met Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu at Çankaya Mansion in Ankara.

“PYD/PKK terrorists in Syria’s northwestern town of Afrin targeted the southern Hatay province with a mortar shell, killing one person and injuring two,” Yıldırım said. “As Mr. Kılıçdaroğlu has stated, we have sensitivities. What are our sensitivities? Turkey will not and will never bring prejudice to the territorial integrity of Syria.”

Yıldırım has also said that “The operation’s name is very meaningful. Afrin is famous for its olives. This is a peacekeeping operation. More than 170 targets have been destroyed with more than 100 aircrafts in the first two days.”

However, Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which includes PYD and YPG, has claimed on Monday that 40 members of the Turkish army and Free Syrian Army (FSA) have been killed and nearly 300 others have been wounded. It has also claimed that 18 civilians lost their lives and 23 others got wounded. According to SDF claims YPG’s 3 militants have been killed during three days of operations. SDF has also claimed that two tanks of the Turkish army were destroyed in the village of Kurdo in Afrin’s Bilbile district.

News agency AFP has tweeted on Monday that the battle in Syria’s Afrin region kills 54 Syrian Kurd and pro-Turkey fighters. According to a report by the Associated Press (AP), the US-backed Kurdish armed groups said it has repelled Turkish troops on Monday and their Syrian allies from Shinkal and Adah Manli, two villages they seized a day earlier in Afrin. Afrin is encircled from all sides by Turkish-backed Syrian fighters, Turkish troops and Syrian government forces. The one road out of the enclave to government-controlled Aleppo has been closed by the Kurdish militia for security reasons.

The Kurdish group, the People’s Defense Units or the YPG, said the Turkey-backed forces have opened a new front, pushing their way into two other villages in the district’s north. The militia said it is fighting to push back the advancing troops in Balia and Qarna in northwest Afrin.

Turkish PM Yıldırım has also added that “The operation is fully supported by our nation. The 80 million one-hearted pray for our soldiers’ success. Also our political party, the main opposition party leader Kılıçdaroğlu and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli fully support this campaign.” PM thanked Kılıçdaroğlu and the other political party leaders for their support.

According to a report by state-run Anadolu news agency (AA), Kılıçdaroğlu has also voiced his “support” for the operation, wishing luck to Turkish soldiers in the region. “Operation Olive Branch has inevitably arrived on Turkey’s agenda. Our heroic soldiers are continuing their fight. Our main desire is for all to return home safely,” he said.

“Syria’s territorial integrity is very important. Therefore, our troops are clearing our borders of terrorists. They also make a contribution to the territorial integrity of Syria,” Kılıçdaroğlu added.

CHP Deputy Chair Bülent Tezcan on Sunday said his party completely backs the ongoing operation in Syria’s Afrin. Speaking at a news conference at the CHP headquarters in capital Ankara, Tezcan said that “Our glorious army has taken an important action in Afrin. We give our full support to this operation.

“We wish that this operation achieves success and reaches its goal as soon as possible. We hope Turkish Armed Forces will reach its target without any injury or loss and return home safely. May God help our army and our soldiers. At the end of this process, the most important thing to remember is that territorial integrity and sovereignty of Syria is ensured,” he said.

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