Erdogan speaks to commandos on operation's anniversary

             By Sarp Ozer and Zafer Fatih Beyaz</p>  <p>HATAY, Turkey (AA) - Marking the first anniversary of the start of Turkey’s Operation Olive Branch, the president on Sunday spoke with Defense Minister Hulusi Akar and a commando team involved in the counter-terrorist operation.</p>  <p>In a video call to the soldiers at their base in Turkey's southern Hatay province, Erdogan stressed that Turkey's fight against terrorism will continue without hesitation in Syria's Afrin, Jarabulus, and Al-Bab regions.</p>  <p>&quot;The fight in Afrin will hold an unforgettable place in our memories,&quot; he said, referring to the site of Operation Olive Branch.</p>  <p>Speaking on Sunday's terrorist attack in Afrin, northern Syria, Erdogan said that: &quot;Terrorist attacks in Afrin will never deter us from our fight there.&quot;</p>  <p>Two civilians were killed and eight injured in Sunday’s bomb attack on a bus in Afrin.</p>  <p>The bombing, falling on the first anniversary of the start of Operation Olive Branch, is believed to be the work of the terrorist YPG/PKK.</p>  <p>Since 2016, Turkey’s Euphrates Shield and Olive Branch operations in northwestern Syria have liberated the region of YPG/PKK and Daesh terrorists, making it possible for Syrians who fled violence there to return home.</p>  <p>Since being rooted out from Afrin by Olive Branch, the YPG/PKK has targeted civilians and security forces with terrorist attacks.</p>  <p>In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK -- recognized as a terrorist group by Turkey, the U.S., and the EU -- has been responsible for the deaths of some 40,000 people. The YPG/PYD is the group's Syrian branch.

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