Turkey is not “occupying” Syria’s Afrin with its ongoing Operation Olive Branch, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday.
Addressing the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party’s provincial heads meeting in capital Ankara, Erdogan said, “We are not occupying Afrin. On the contrary, we are trying to make it a liveable place for the real owners while clearing out terrorists from there.”
Turkey on Saturday launched Operation Olive Branch to clear PYD/PKK and ISIS forces from Afrin, northwestern Syria.
Erdogan said the operation was a “clear warning” to those who did not want to understand Turkey’s determination in the fight against terrorism.
He reiterated the ongoing operation was directed “purely and simply” against terrorists.
He added Turkey will clear terrorists from Syria’s Manbij next.