Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has condemned Turkish military operation in the country’s northwestern region of Afrin, stating that the offensive is part of Ankara’s support for Takfiri terrorist groups operating inside the conflict-plagued Arab country.
“The brutal Turkish aggression on the Syrian town of Afrin cannot be separated from the Turkish regime’s policy from the first day of Syria’s crisis, which was essentially built on supporting terrorism and terrorist organizations, whatever their names,” Assad said in statements carried by Syria’s official news agency SANA.
Earlier on Sunday, Turkish ground forces, backed by armored vehicles, special forces and infantry regiments, advanced 5 kilometers (3 miles) inside Afrin along with the so-called Free Syrian Army militants. No major clashes took place during the movement.
The Turkish General Staff said in a statement that Turkish warplanes and artillery units had hit 153 positions of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) militants so far.
“Operation Olive Branch continues as planned and the ground offensive has begun,” the military stated on the second day of the military operation.
The military also asserted that only terrorists and their positions, shelters, were being destroyed, and that “careful attention” was being paid not to harm any civilian.