TEHRAN, Mar. 18 (Press Shia) – Units of Turkey -backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) group have seized control over the Kurdish-held northern Syrian city of Afrin, Syria.
Turkish military and its backed FSA have taken control of Afrin town center, as part of Turkey’s Operation Olive Branch to clear PKK-linked People’s Protection Units (YPG) in northern Syria, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Sunday.
Speaking at the commemoration ceremony of the 103rd Anniversary of the Battle of Gallipoli, Erdogan said that the Turkey-backed FSA forces entered the Syrian city as of 8:30 a.m. on Sunday.
He highlighted that Turkey will immediately take necessary steps to make sure that the residents of the city are able to return to their homes as soon as possible.
Reports noted that gunshots and explosion sounds are being heard in the area, while Turkish fighter jets continue to fly over the city.
“Fighting is ongoing inside the city, where Turkish forces and allied opposition units have seized some neighborhoods,” the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said, according to the French Press Agency (AFP).
The entrance into Afrin town center coincides with the 103rd anniversary of the naval victory of the Ottomans against the Allied forces during World War I, as well as the commemoration of the thousands who lost their lives during the Gallipoli Campaign.