Turkish-backed rebels advance on Kurdish-held Syrian town

Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army fighters are seen in Afrin

President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan makes a speech as he attends the inauguration of governing Justice and Development (AK) Party's Politics Academy in Ankara, Turkey on March 09, 2018.

Turkish soldiers and warplanes have made significant advances in the countryside of the border region of northwest Syria since launching an offensive in January that put Turkey at odds with its global partners.

Turkey neutralised at least 3,195 terrorists belonging to the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PYD/PKK) and Islamic State (IS) group in a military operation in Syria's Afrin region, the Turkish military said in a statement on Saturday.

Syria has slammed both Turkish and USA military activities on its soil as a violation of the Arab nation's sovereignty.

"We have besieged Afrin".

Turkey regards the YPG as a terror group and a branch of militants in Turkey who have waged an insurgency for decades.

"Today we are in Afrin and tomorrow we will be in Manbij".

Turkish authorities often use the word "neutralized" to imply the terrorists in question either surrendered or were killed or captured.

Since the beginning of the operation, the Turkish military and the Free Syrian Army have cleared more than 159 locations, including five town centres, 124 villages, 30 strategic areas and one YPG base. "Approximately 850 square kilometers are under our control during the Afrin operation, and our aim is to clear 2,000 square kilometers from terrorists", he added.

Turkish public opinion in favour of the USA is low according to a poll published yesterday by the Centre for American Progress, which found 83 per cent of Turks view America unfavourably and 46 per cent believe the country should do more to confront it.

F-16 fighters of the Turkish Air Force are involved in the operation, inflicting strikes on the positions of PYD/YPG on the Syrian-Turkish border.

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