Addressing the ruling Justice and Development Party's (AK Party) provincial chairs in Ankara, Erdogan said that what upsets Turkey the most is the hypocrisy and levity displayed by some countries that Turkey regards as its ally and has deep political and military relations with.
"Yesterday, the defense department spokesperson of one of these countries, unashamedly, without flushing, said that civilians die in Afrin, people could not return to their homes due to violence. You heathen, you immoral, you don't feel any discomfort about murder of hundreds of children, women and elders in eastern Ghouta every day, yet you are troubled with the fight against terrorists and spread false news," Erdogan said.
Erdogan was referring to the statements of Pentagon Spokesperson Adrian Galloway on Feb. 21, who said that the U.S. is concerned with the effects of the operation on civilian population, and U.S. authorities will do their best in their contacts with their Turkish counterparts to reduce tensions and civilians.
In his speech, Erdogan said 415 square kilometers (160 square miles) of territory was now under control and 1,873 terrorists had been neutralized.
"The operation will continue with a new strategy once Afrin's city center is surrounded, which will soon happen, and the terrorists are cut off from outside contact," Erdogan said.
He added that Turkey expected the next phase of the ongoing Afrin operation to proceed faster since the strategic hills in the region were now largely cleared of terrorists.
"Our heroic soldiers are fighting selflessly and courageously, moving toward Afrin step by step by destroying the fortifications the separatist terrorist organization has carefully prepared for attacks against Turkey," Erdogan said.
Erdogan added, "We will first clear Manbij from terrorists, and then will continue on our way until we make all of the west of the Euphrates safe for us and our Syrian brothers."
On Jan. 20, Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch to clear YPG/PKK and Daesh terrorists from Afrin, northwestern Syria.
According to the Turkish General Staff, the operation aims to establish security and stability along Turkey's borders and the region as well as to protect Syrians from terrorist oppression and cruelty.
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.