The Turkish Ministry of Interior Suleyman Soylu on
Monday said that since the country launched its operation in Syria’s Afrin district, police have detained 666 people, over social media posts opposing the military campaign.
Soylu said “Since the start of Operation Olive Branch, 666 people have been detained over terrorist propaganda in social media,” the ministry said in a statement.
Harlem Dessir, the Organisation for Security and Co-operation (OSCE) Representative on Freedom of the Media, denounced the detention of hundreds of people in Turkey over their public criticism of the operation.
Desir urged Ankara to reverse its hard-line policy and release the dissenters.
The Turkish Armed Forces, on Jan. 20, launched Operation Olive Branch against the Kurdish forces in Afrin, an area controlled by the U.S.-backed Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG).
The operation has been conducted jointly with the Free Syrian Army forces.
Damascus has firmly condemned the operation as an assault on Syria’s sovereignty.
Moscow, in turn, has urged all the parties to exercise restraint and called for respect of Syria’s territorial integrity.