'Of course, number will increase by evening,' says Turkish president
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday said a total of 800 terrorists have been killed in Syria's northwestern Afrin region as part of Turkey’s ongoing Operation Olive Branch.
"Of course, this number will increase by the evening," said Erdogan, while speaking at Turkish Youth Foundation's gathering at Presidential Complex.
On Jan. 20, Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch along with the Free Syrian Army (FSA) to clear PYD/PKK and Daesh terrorists from Afrin, northwestern Syria.
According to the Turkish General Staff, the operation aims to establish security and stability along Turkey’s borders and the region as well as to protect Syrians from terrorist oppression and cruelty.
The operation is being carried out under the framework of Turkey's rights based on international law, UN Security Council resolutions, its self-defense rights under the UN charter, and respect for Syria's territorial integrity, it said.
The military also said only terror targets are being destroyed and that "utmost care and sensitivity" is being put on avoiding harming civilians.
Afrin has been a major hideout for the PYD/PKK since July 2012, when the Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria left the city to the terror group without a fight.