Turkish army names Afrin offensive as “Olive Branch”

Turkish army said “Operation Olive Branch” is launched in Afrin region in the northwestern part of Syria “to ensure security and stability” on Turkey’s borders and in the region.

“The Turkish Armed Forces are trying to neutralise the terrorists,” the statement published on Turkish Armed Forces website read.

The statement named Kurdish armed organisations and the extremist jihadist Islamic State as “terrorist organisations” active in the Afrin region.

The aim of the operation is to bring freedom to the region’s population, “which is under the oppression of these groups,” statement said.

The military operation is based on United Nations’ resolutions regarding the fight against terrorism, and Turkey’s right of self-defence as defined by international law, the army statement said.

The operation respects Syria’s territorial integrity and takes precautions to avoid loss of civilian life, it said.

Turkey sees the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), who fights with Turkish security forces in southeast Turkey since 1980s, and the U.S.-backed Syria Kurdish militia, People’s Protection Units (YPG) as one and the same.