Erdoğan says hopes Syria’s Afrin town to be captured by Wednesday evening


President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said he hoped Turkey’s military and the Free Syrian Army (FSA) would completely capture the northern Syrian town of Afrin by Wednesday evening, a day after the armed forces said it had encircled the town.

Speaking to local administrators in Ankara, Erdoğan also said civilians in Afrin town were being evacuated in cars through a special corridor, as Turkish forces made substantial advances against terrorists in the nearly two-month-old offensive.

“We have edged even closer to Afrin, and I hope that we will have completely captured it by this evening. Civilians are being lead out of Afrin through a special corridor,” Erdoğan said .

The Turkish Armed Forces announced on Tuesday that the Afrin city center, in northwestern Syria, has been surrounded since Monday as part of the Turkish-led Operation Olive Branch.

“If Turkey targeted civilians, Afrin would have been captured long ago. All precautions are being taken. We will clear Afrin, Manbij and our northern Iraq border east of the Euphrates of terrorists,” Erdoğan said.

The president also commented on the death of specialized Sergeant Orhan Sürmen, who was martyred when a Quran rigged with a bomb by PKK terrorists exploded as he picked up the holy book in Afrin.

“They [PKK terrorists] are such low murderers that our soldier, our son was martyred by a handmade bomb rigged to a Quran. They have no faith,” Erdoğan said.

Operation Olive Branch was initiated on Jan. 20 in Afrin to establish security and stability, eliminate terrorists of PKK/KCK/PYD-YPG and Daesh, and save locals from the terrorists’ oppression and cruelty.

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