The Turkish General Staff made the announcement in a statement published on its website.

“‘Operation Olive Branch’ has been started on Jan. 20, 2018 at 5 p.m., in Syria’s northwestern Afrin region to establish security and stability on our borders and region, to eliminate terrorists of PKK/KCK/PYD-YPG and Daesh, and to save our friends and brothers… from their [ the terrorists’] oppression and cruelty.

“The operation is being conducted under the framework of Turkey’s rights based on international law, UN Security Council’s decisions especially no. 1624 (2005), 2170 (2014) and 2178 (2014) and as per the self-defense right under 51th item of UN charter, while being respectful to Syria’s territorial integrity.

The statement said the operation only targets terrorists and their shelters, weapons and material belonging to them. It said the operation will also take sensitivity into account and no civilian/innocent person would be harmed.

Anadolu Agency