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Turkey announces preliminary end date of Olive Branch Op. in Afrin

10 March 2018

Cavusoglu's comments came as Turkey pushed ahead with a cross-border military operation against the Kurdish YPG militia in northern Syria's Afrin region.

The US views the YPG as an ally in Syria, where the militant group forms the backbone of the SDF that is being trained, equipped and protected by the Americans.

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On Monday, the Pentagon announced an "operational pause" due to the Turkish military operations in Afrin.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan repeatedly vows to "clean the region from this trouble completely", signaling that the offensive against PKK and the affiliated group will not remain merely with the operation in Afrin. "We will take the entire area under control in the first phase and send our brothers from Afrin back to their lands", he added.

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"We are in Afrin today, we will be in Manbij tomorrow".

Turkey launched "Operation Olive Branch" on January 20 along with elements of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) to clear Afrin of the YPG.

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Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army fighters are seen as they advance in north of Afrin, Syria, March 8, 2018. On a visit to Ankara last month, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that Turkey and the US had to solve the tensions surrounding Manbij as a "priority".

Erdogan said Afrin will be cleared of terrorists exactly like Jarabulus city in Syria's Aleppo was cleared during Turkey's Operation Euphrates Shield, which began in late August in 2016 and ended in March 2017.

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"Jarabulus was 2,000 square-kilometers and we cleared it".

Turkey announces preliminary end date of Olive Branch Op. in Afrin