geopolitics-00524
Turkish Army soldiers prepare their tanks and armoured personnel carriers at a staging area in the outskirts of the village of Sugedigi, Turkey, on the border with Syria, Monday, Jan. 22, 2018. The Turkish offensive on the Kurdish enclave of Afrin in Syria, codenamed Operation Olive Branch, started on Saturday, heightening tensions in the already complicated Syrian conflict and threatening to further strain ties between NATO allies Turkey and the United States. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

The Turkish army said that it destroyed more than 20 sites and “neutralized a large number of militants” in the city of Tal Rifaat in northern Syria, the Anadolu Agency reported on Saturday.

According to the state-owned publication, the Turkish army destroyed sites belonging to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and People’s Protection Units (YPG) in the Tal Rifaat area of northern Aleppo.

The publication said that “punitive shots” were carried out by the army on sites in Tal Rifaat and that the shells at Kilis were believed to have been fired from them on Thursday.

However, despite these claims, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused the Syrian Armed Forces of firing the projectiles that landed inside the Kilis Province on Thursday evening. It should  be noted that the Syrian Ministry of Defense has yet to comment on these allegations.

The Anadolu report stated that the Turkish forces targeted, in addition to the places where the shells were launched, several other sites in the northern countryside of Aleppo.

Earlier in the day, the Turkish Ministry of Defense reported that their forces ‘neutralized’ 14 members of the PKK in northern Syria.