Turkey will soon be with the people who are seeking the country’s support along the Syrian border, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday.
Speaking at the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party’s ordinary provincial congress in Black Sea province of Samsun, Erdogan said: “We will not stop until we rescue our brothers in Syria and completely eliminate the trap set for our country.”
He also rejected the claims that Turkey is invading Syria through Afrin operation and said: “Nobody can say ‘Turkish army and Turkey are carrying out an invasion in Syria’.”
Erdogan vowed to protect the people of Afrin, saying the civilians started returning to Afrin.
Syria’s Afrin region has been taken under “complete” control as part of Turkish-led Operation Olive Branch, the Turkish military said on Saturday.
In a statement, Turkish General Staff said efforts are in progress to help civilians return home in a secure way.
Turkish troops have also been continuing efforts to search and destroy hand-made explosives and mines planted by the terrorists around the region.
Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch on Jan. 20 to clear terrorist groups from Afrin in northwestern Syria amid growing threats from the region.
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 “utmost care” is being taken to not harm civilians.