Turkish military footage shows civilians trying to leave the town despite YPG/PKK attempts to block their way.

People sit in a truck with their belongings in the northeast of Afrin, Syria March 15, 2018
People sit in a truck with their belongings in the northeast of Afrin, Syria March 15, 2018 (Reuters)

Civilians in northwestern Syria, Afrin, where Turkey's Operation Olive Branch is ongoing, are trying to flee the district's centre despite the terrorist group YPG/PKK's attempts to throw up barriers.

As the Turkey-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) forces draw closer to the town's centre, civilians are beginning to flee.

Using civilians as human shields, the YPG/PKK have also dug trenches to prevent civilians from fleeing.

Turkish military on Friday posted a video on its Twitter account showing civilians in Afrin trying to get through the YPG/PKK trenches by filling them with pickaxes and shovels.

Meanwhile, the Turkish military and FSA on Friday cleared the YPG/PKK from nine more villages and three strategic hills in the region.

According to correspondents on the ground, the villages of Miske Fawkani, Miske Tahtani, Shaykh Bilal, Kurdane, and Kucuk Meydan and three strategic hills were cleared of terrorists.

Since the launch of the Operation Olive Branch, the Turkish military and FSA have cleared the YPG/PKK from 257 locations, including 213 villages and 44 strategic mountains and hills.

A total of 3,530 terrorists have been "neutralised" since the start of the operation, the Turkish General Staff said in a statement on Friday morning.

Turkish authorities often use the word "neutralised" in their statements to imply that the terrorists in question either surrendered or were killed or captured.

Turkey rejects EU Parliament's motion on Afrin

Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag on Friday rebuffed a European Parliament motion urging Turkey to stop its counter-terrorist operation in Afrin, Syria, slamming it as “null and void.”

“The EP’s decision is null and void for Turkey. Just because EP took this decision doesn’t mean Turkey will give up the fight against terrorism,” Bekir Bozdag posted on Twitter.

“Operation Olive Branch will continue until peace, security, and stability are established in the region and the last terrorist is out of Afrin,” he added.

On Thursday, the European Parliament drafted a motion calling on Turkey to withdraw its troops from Syria's Afrin region.

Bozdag said that those who see the future of Europe as allied to terrorist groups are doing great harm to the EU, European Parliament, and the people of Europe.

Launched on January 20 to clear YPG/PKK and Daesh terrorists from Afrin, Turkey's operation is still continuing.

According to the Turkish General Staff, the operation aims to establish security and stability along Turkey's borders and the region as well as to protect Syrians from the oppression and cruelty of terrorists.

The operation is being carried out under the framework of Turkey's rights based on international law, UN Security Council resolutions, its self-defence 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 that the "utmost care" is being taken to avoid harming civilians.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies