Operation Olive Branch rescued district from ‘living hell’, local residents say
By Burak Karacaoglu and Esref Musa
Local women in the recently secured village of Shawarighat al-Jawz in Syria’s Afrin district welcomed Turkish troops and Free Syrian Army (FSA) fighters on Friday.
Afrin’s villages of Shawarighat al-Jawz and Milkiyah were cleared of terrorists on Thursday as part of Turkey’s ongoing Operation Olive Branch.
Turkish troops and FSA fighters have now entered the city of Afrin itself.
Anadolu Agency spoke to some local women in Afrin who described the newcomers as “saviors”.
“May God bless you,” Um Ahmad, a local resident, said. “You saved us from a living hell.”
FSA Commander Ahmad Ebu Kasim, for his part, confirmed that the village had been cleared of terrorists.
“I have been reunited with my relatives in Shawarighat al-Jawz, so I’m very happy,” Ebu Kasim said.
Since the operation began in January, the Turkish military and the FSA have liberated 161 different locations, including five town centers, 124 villages and 31 “strategic areas”.
On Jan. 20, Turkey launched the operation with the aim of clearing Syria’s northwestern Afrin district of YPG/PKK and Daesh terrorists.
According to the Turkish General Staff, the operation aims to secure Turkey’s borders and protect Syrian civilians from the two terrorist groups.
The operation is being conducted within the framework of international law and past UN Security Council resolutions, and with full respect for Syria’s territorial integrity.
Only terrorist positions are being targeted while the utmost care has been taken to avoid civilian casualties, according to Turkish military officials.