Turkey's Erdogan says Afrin city centre under 'total' control

5.6m refugees over 400,000 dead in war-torn Syria

On March 8, Turkish forces and allied Syrian rebels take control of the key northern town of Jandairis from the Kurdish militia.

Turkey is marking the 103rd anniversary of the battle of Gallipoli, where the Ottoman Empire repelled an invasion by Allied forces after several months of heavy fighting.

Afrin is the capital of the eponymous canton in northwestern Aleppo province that is mainly governed by the Kurdish-led Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its armed wing, the YPG.

A spokeswoman for the United Nations human rights office said it had had "deeply alarming reports" of civilians killed and wounded in Afrin, and of the Kurds preventing civilians from leaving. Will the Afrin operation actually push more local people into the arms of the YPG?

The Turkish assault on Afrin raises tensions with the U.S. Turkey views the Kurdish fighters as terrorists, even though the U.S. has armed and trained some to fight against Islamic State forces in Syria.

Turkish authorities often use the term "neutralized" to refer to injured, killed, captured and surrendered militants.

"My thanks for them", Lutfiye Dunca, the wife of 43-years old Mithat Dunca - a Turkish soldier martyred in Turkey's ongoing operation in Afrin on Saturday.

Erdogan said a "large number" of Kurdish fighters had "fled with their tails between their legs".

. "Our special forces and members of the Free Syrian Army are cleaning the remains and the traps they left behind", Erdoğan said. "In Afrin's center, it is no longer the rags of the terror organization that are waving but rather the symbols of peace and security".

The capture of Afrin city, the largest population center in the northwestern, Kurdish-majority enclave, is the single largest victory of Operation Olive Branch since the offensive began in January.

On Twitter, the military posted a video of a soldier putting a Turkish flag on a balcony.

Meanwhile, the oppositional Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said over half of the city fell to the Turkish forces, adding that 1,500 fighters with the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) have been killed since the Turkish campaign started against Afrin in January.

"We already left yesterday [Friday] but they [terrorists] stopped everyone at the checkpoint, it was crowded, they do not allow anyone to leave", he said.

They called on the United Nations, European powers, Muslim countries and members of the US -led military coalition against Islamic State to "take steps to immediately avert the tragedy in Afrin and get concrete results, including withdrawal of all armed forces who entered Afrin". "But the project of building a terrorism corridor and building a terrorist state is over", he said.

Presidential spokesperson İbrahim Kalin has dubbed the clearing of the YPG from Afrin's town center as "significant".

More than 150,000 people have fled Afrin in recent days, the Syrian Observatory said.

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