Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan expressed hope that Turkish forces would completely encircle Afrin by nightfall on Wednesday, speaking from Ankara on Wednesday. «3,444 neutralised terrorists. And we also got a little closer to Afrin and, if God's willing, Afrin would fall by tonight,» said Erdogan. Responding on criticisms of targeting civilians, Erdogan remarked, «If Turkey aimed to... Еще kill civilians, Afrin would have been done with a long time ago. All sorts of sensitivities are taken care of, if you notice above all, all civilians are taken out of Afrin from a special corridor with cars.» Earlier, residents of Afrin were seen with luggage on the city's streets on Wednesday, after reports said Turkish forces had shelled the city centre. A pall of grey smoke was seen rising into the sky. Media reports say an increasing number of residents are escaping the city, as the Turkish military and the Free Syrian Army (FSA) continue their efforts to encircle the centre of Afrin. The operation in and around Afrin is part of the Turkish-led 'Olive Branch' military operation against Syrian Kurdish forces in northern Syria.