Feb 27 2018

Turkey "neutralises" 24 militants in Afrin

Turkey "neutralised" 24 Kurdish and islamic State (ISIS) militants in Syria's Afrin, the military said in a daily update of the ongoing operation.

The total number killed or captured since an incursion began on Jan. 20 has risen to 2,083, the military said in a statement on its website on Tuesday.

Turkey has denied reports from inside Afrin that large numbers of civilians have been killed and injured in its offensive and says only "terrorist targets" have been destroyed and there have been no civilian casualties.

Operation Olive Branch aims to establish security and stability along Turkey’s borders and in the region as well as to protect Syrians from terrorist oppression and cruelty, the military said. Turkey is acting against Syrian Kurdish forces in line with its rights to self-defence under United Nations charters, it said.

The United States and European Union had opposed the incursion saying it threatens to further destabilise Syria and detract from the war on ISIS. Kurdish militants have proven the most effective local fighting force against ISIS in Syria.