Afrin city center in northwestern Syria has been surrounded since Monday as part of Turkey-led Operation Olive Branch, Turkish Armed Forces said Tuesday.
In a written statement, the Turkish General Staff said the center of Afrin has been surrounded since March 12 and "critically important areas" have been seized as a result of the ongoing operations in the region.
A total of 3,393 terrorists have been "neutralized" since the start of the operation, the army said in another statement on Tuesday.
Turkish authorities often use the word "neutralized" in their statements to imply the terrorists in question either surrendered or were killed or captured.
Only terrorists and shelters, gun emplacements, weapons, tools and equipment belonging to them have been targeted during the operation, which has been “successfully” continuing, the statement said.
The military reiterated that they have been showing every kind of attention and sensibility to ensure civilians and nearby areas do not get harmed.
“Basic humanitarian needs, including health services of civilians in the operation area have been met ‘devotedly’,” it said.
After securing the liberated regions, Turkey is firstly helping locals return home and the Turkish Red Crescent (Kizilay in Turkish) and the Prime Ministry Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) are conducting aid activities simultaneously, the statement said.
The army also said Operation Olive Branch was targeting PKK/KCK/PYD-YPG and Daesh terror groups.
On Jan. 20, Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch to clear YPG/PKK-Daesh terrorists from Afrin, northwestern Syria.
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 the oppression and cruelty 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, it said.
Reporting by Sinan Uslu:Writing by Nilay Kar