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Turkey to open ‘Olive Branch’ border crossing with Syria’s Afrin next week – minister

A border gate between Turkey and northern Syria’s Afrin region is ready and will be opened next week, advancing a project aimed at speeding up aid and equipment flows, Turkey’s Trade Minister Ruhsar Pekcan said on Tuesday. The border crossing dubbed ‘Olive Branch’ was named after Ankara’s military operation last year when it drove Syrian Kurdish forces out of Afrin, which it considers terrorists, Reuters said. Pekcan said in November that the Olive Branch border gate had been opened. It was not immediately clear if her comments on Tuesday referred to an additional gate or the reopening of the same one. The Afrin operation was the Turkish military’s second offensive into northern Syria. In the first operation, called ‘Euphrates Shield,’ it drove Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) militants from territory along the border in 2016.