ISTANBUL, Jan 21 (KUNA) -- Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag said on Sunday his country has received intelligence that Islamic State group units, some of whom plan to cross into Turkey and Europe, are hiding amongst civilians in the northern Syrian city of Afrin.
The IS fighters, who are in disguise, have infiltrated their way into the frontlines of Syrian Kurdish fighters there, Bozdag told foreign journalists in Istanbul in response to questions about Turkey's offensive on the Kurdish-controlled city, dubbed 'Operation Olive Branch'.
The city has turned into a "centre for terrorism," he said, which is threatening the city's inhabitants and Turkish nearby residents, while also noting to the threat of the IS militants.
Meanwhile, he suggested Syrian-Kurdish YPG fighters are using "all terrorist means possible" to subject civilians in the city, including Arabs, Turkmen and Syrian Kurds who refuse to submit to their will.
Some 370,000 Syrian Kurds have recently fled to Turkey, the majority of whom are from Afrin, he went on to say.
The official also underlined that the Turkish military raid is being carried out according to international law and Turkey's right to defend itself under the United Nations stature and Security Council anti-terrorism resolutions. (pickup previous)