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President Erdogan says Turkey can enter Afrin centre 'at any moment'

11 March 2018

A total of 18 PKK terrorists were "neutralized" in Turkey's southeastern provinces of Diyarbakir, Mardin and northern Iraq this week, the Turkish General Staff said on Saturday.

The PKK is a designated terrorist organisation by Turkey, the United States and the European Union. The Turkish leader had earlier alleged that the YPG is trying to establish a "terror corridor" on Turkey's southern border, linking Syria's northern city of Afrin with a large Kurdish-controlled area to the east.

"We can enter Afrin at any moment, God willing", Erdogan told his ruling AKP party in Ankara, a day after Turkish forces took control of the town of Jandairis west of Afrin.

"We are advancing toward Afrin [city center]".

He added that Turkey will help Afrin to rebuild and fix, including its electricity, water, education, and healthcare systems, just like it did in Jarablus, Ar-rai, Azaz and Al-Bab, after clearing these Syrian cities of Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) miliants during Turkey's Operation Euphrates Shield.

"We have established working groups for that", Mevlut Cavusoglu said in an interview with the German weekly Die Zeit on Friday.

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

Ankara says the YPG is the Syrian branch of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which has fought a three-decade insurgency in southeast Turkey.

"Now the centre of Afrin is surrounded and our entry is imminent", Erdogan said in televised speech in Ankara.

The Turkish postal service or PTT is now serving a Syrian city liberated from terrorists in 2016 by Turkish soldiers.

Turkey is now engaged in a cross-border offensive in Syria to drive out Kurdish fighters it considers to be an extension of the PKK.

President Erdogan says Turkey can enter Afrin centre 'at any moment'