2019-03-16 20:47:00

The Turkish Red Crescent on Friday sent two aid trucks to Syria via a newly-opened border crossing, Anadolu Agency reports.

The aid trucks crossed the Olive Branch Customs Gate in Turkey’s Hatay province to enter northwestern Syrian city of Afrin, marking the first ever aid supply through the newly-built border gate, according to local sources.

The gate became operational in late 2018 for speeding up the delivery of humanitarian aid to Afrin and meeting the infrastructure needs of the region.

“The gate has a strategic importance in terms of easy transportation of humanitarian aid to the demilitarized regions, especially to Afrin,” said Rahmi Dogan, a provincial official.

Dogan also highlighted the importance of the gate for the promotion of trade in the region.

There are 30 customs officers, 23 managers deployed at the gate.

The new customs gate was named after Turkey’s Operation Olive Branch, which was launched on Jan. 20 to free Afrin of YPG/PKK and Daesh terrorists. On March 18, Turkish troops and the Free Syrian Army liberated the Afrin district center.

Syria has only just begun to emerge from a devastating conflict that began in 2011 when the Bashar al-Assad regime cracked down on demonstrators with unexpected ferocity.

Hundreds of thousands of civilians have been killed or displaced in the conflict, mainly by regime airstrikes targeting opposition-held areas.