Mar 05 2018

"Nearly half” of Afrin secured, optimistic Turkish state media estimates

Turkey’s military operation in the northwest Syrian enclave of Afrin, Operation Olive Branch, has successfully taken a large part of the area under control, the Turkish state media Anadolu Agency’s English language website reported on Monday.

Turkey launched its military incursion into Afrin on Jan. 20, aiming to clear Kurdish militants from the People's Protection Units (YPG) from the area, which borders two southeast Turkish provinces.

Turkey considers the YPG to be the Syrian extension of the terrorist-designated Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), and viewed their growing power on the Turkish border as a grave threat.

Anadolu quoted Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ, who said after a cabinet meeting on Monday that “112 villages, 30 critical positions, and a total of 142 spots” had been taken under Turkish control, while he said that 2,795 "terrorists" had been eliminated.

This, he said, meant that 702 of 1,920 square kilometers (271 of 741 square miles), or “nearly half,” according to Anadolu, of the area had been secured.

Anadolu’s report, however, seems to display a questionable understanding of the relatively simple mathematical concept of fractions, leading to what can be charitably described as a “glass nearly half full” editorial line.

A half of 1,920 is 960, while a third of the same figure is 640.