Turkey denies bombing archaeological site near Afrin

(MENAFN- Trend News Agency ) Turkey on Saturday denied Lebanese media reports claiming Turkish warplanes bombed archaeological site of Brad near Syria's Afrin region during Operation Olive Branch, Anadolu agency reported.

Friday's reports claimed the airstrikes destroyed the Julianus Church and Brad monastery in the Brad ancient site near Afrin.

In a written statement, Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy termed the reports 'completely untrue'.

'No airstrike targeting the Brad [ancient] site, Julianus Church and Brad monastery has been carried out by Turkish Armed Forces so far.'

He said it could be easily proved that the Julianus Church was destroyed by armed groups in 2013, he added.

'Contrary to the claims, every kind of measures had been taken for not damaging regional and cultural structures, historical artifacts and archeological sites since the start of the operation,' Aksoy said.

The spokesman said Turkey had taken necessary steps to correct all such reports.

Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch on Jan. 20 to clear terrorist groups from Afrin in northwestern Syria amid growing threats from the region.

The operation is being carried out under the framework of Turkey's rights based on international law, UN Security Council resolutions, its self-defense 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 "utmost care" is being taken to not harm civilians.

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