2612 terrorists 'neutralized' in Turkey's Syria op

Turkish warplanes struck pro-government forces in the northwestern Syrian region of Afrin on Saturday, killing at least 36 soldiers, as Turkey's assault in the Kurdish region gathered pace, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

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.

Since February 26, areas controlled by the Free Syrian Army (FSA) forces in northern Syria have been reconnected in a crescent-shaped corridor from the northwestern Idlib province and Azaz eastward, Andalou's state-run news agency reported.

They came after Turkish raids on other parts of the enclave killed 14 pro-government fighters on Thursday and four more on Friday, the monitor said.

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The pro-Syrian government forces entered Afrin last week to repel a Turkish offensive in Afrin against the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) militant group.

Afrin has been a major stronghold for the YPG since July 2012, when the Syrian government left the city to the group without a fight.

Since the launch of the operation on January 20, Turkish military and the FSA liberated 127 locations including two district centers, 97 villages, 21 strategic mountains and hills and one YPG/PKK base.

This is while United States officials regard the YPG as the most effective fighting force against the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group in northern Syria, and have substantially increased their weaponry and technology support to the group. The Turkish government views the YPG as a terror organization and the Syrian branch of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

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Ankara also said that the "utmost care" is being taken to avoid harming civilians, and has denied allegations that innocent victims have been targeted in the operation.

Strikes on the area of Kafr Janna were the third such raid in less than 48 hours.

A Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army fighter is seen in Afrin, Syria on March 2, 2018.

If confirmed, Rajo would be the largest center in Afrin to be captured since the Turkish offensive began on Jan.20.

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