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Turkey army confirms start of new ‘Olive Branch’ operation inside Syria

Turkish jet fighters hit the People’s Protection Units (YPG) positions at the Syrian side of the border at Hassa in Hatay on Jan. 20, 2018. (AFP)
ANKARA/ISTANBUL: The Turkish army on Saturday confirmed it had started a major new ground and air cross-border operation against the People’s Protection Units (YPG) militia in Syria, which Turkey deems to be a terror organization.
Dubbing the new campaign operation “Olive Branch,” the Turkish army said it had begun at 1400 GMT and was aimed against the YPG and also Daesh extremists.
The army also said the operation would be carried out “with respect for Syria’s territorial integrity” and stemmed from Turkey’s rights under international law.
“Our armed forces have started an air campaign in order to destroy elements” of the YPG, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said in a televised speech. An AFP correspondent on the Turkish side of the border saw two warplanes launch air strikes inside Syrian territory.
Meanwhile, units of pro-Ankara rebels known by Turkey as the Free Syrian Army (FSA) began moving into the Afrin area of Syria which is controlled by the YPG, the state-run Anadolu news agency said.

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