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Afrin to be completely secured soon: Turkish army chief

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Gen. Hulusi Akar says Turkish military will arrive in suburb of Aleppo

Turkish Chief of General Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar on Saturday said Syria’s northerwestern region of Afrin will be completely secured soon.

"There are 3-5 villages left in the west. We will arrive in the suburb of Aleppo called Nubl-Zahra and Afrin will be completely secured soon," Akar said at a conference in the capital Ankara.

He was speaking the conference titled “Turkey and the World Security Policies and Education”.

About the underground tunnels and structures in Afrin, Akar said: “[Building of] these shelters are not the work of terrorists. Without a state mastermind, an engineering service and a project, there is no possibility of doing such a thing on their own."

Turkey on Jan. 20 launched Operation Olive Branch to remove YPG/PKK and Daesh terrorists from Afrin. According to the Turkish General Staff, the operation aims to establish security and stability along Turkey's borders and the region as well as protect Syrians from terrorist cruelty and oppression.

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 has also said that only terrorist targets are being destroyed and "utmost care" is being taken to avoid harming any 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.

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