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Turkey to stay in Afrin till security ensured: Erdogan


Turkey will maintain its presence in Afrin until it has been secured, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday, APA reports quoting Anadolu Agency.

 

Speaking at the Istanbul Youth Festival, Erdogan said: “We will remain in Afrin and we will be there until we assure its security."

 

“Idlib, Tal Rifaat and Manbij will be next,” he added, naming terror-struck Syrian provinces.

 

Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch on Jan. 20 this year to clear the YPG/PKK and Daesh terrorist groups from Afrin, amid growing threats from the region.

 

On March 18, Turkish-backed troops liberated Afrin town center, which had been a major hideout for YPG/PKK terrorists since 2012.

 

Speaking about Operation Euphrates Shield, held from August 2016 to late March 2017, Erdogan said Turkey had delayed its right to intervene.

 

“It [Operation Euphrates Shield] was a delayed operation. We had to conduct it earlier. If we did it earlier, Kilis [southern province of Turkey] wouldn’t be hit so many times,” he said.

 

During Operation Olive Branch Kilis province was targeted by terrorists.

 

On March 19, 48 rocket attacks from across the border killed two civilians and injured 38 others, according to the Kilis governor.

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