By Davut Demircan
ANKARA (AA) – The sole target of Turkey’s anti-terrorist operation in northern Syria is the PYD/YPG, the terrorist PKK’s offshoot in Syria, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Friday.
The aim of Operation Peace Spring, which began Wednesday, is to eliminate terrorists in northern Syria, ensure border security, and rescue oppressed Syrian people from terrorist groups, said the statement.
It stressed that the operation is being carried out in line with Article 51 of the United Nations Charter and several UN resolutions.
According to the statement, the only targets of the operation are terrorist PYD/YPG elements and their hideouts, shelters, emplacements, weapons, vehicles and equipment.
Turkey on Wednesday launched Operation Peace Spring in northern Syria to secure its borders by eliminating terrorists there and to ensure the safe return of Syrian refugees and Syria’s territorial integrity.
Ankara wants to clear the region east of the Euphrates River of the terrorist PKK and its Syrian offshoot, the PYD/YPG.
In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK — listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the European Union — has been responsible for the deaths of 40,000 people, including women, children and infants. The PYD/YPG is its Syrian offshoot.
– ‘Turkey paid the heaviest price in fighting Daesh terrorists’
The statement continued: “Turkey did more than any other country to fight the Daesh terrorist organization in Syria and paid the heaviest price.”
It added, referring to the U.S. and a number of European countries without naming them: “Countries which insist on the mistake of combating Daesh by using another terrorist organization, remain idle in the face of the PYD/YPG’s release of Daesh detainees in line with the interest of the terrorist organization, and even refrain from repatriating their own citizens who are foreign terrorist fighters in the ranks of Daesh, do not have the right to lecture Turkey on the fight against Daesh.”
The U.S. long partnered with the PYD/YPG to fight Daesh, ignoring Turkish objections that using one terrorist group to fight another makes no sense.
Several European countries have resisted taking back their nationals who joined Daesh in Syria.
– ‘Turkey has no intention of changing regional demographics’
Turkey has no plans whatsoever to modify the demographic makeup of the operation area, said the statement mentioned, and added: “Since the beginning of the Syrian conflict, the PYD/YPG terrorist organization has oppressed and intimidated the local population, the Syrian Kurds in particular, and forcibly displaced them.”
The PYD/YPG committed crimes against humanity such as ethnic cleansing as documented by independent international organizations, said the ministry.
– 'Operation Peace Spring will not harm political solution efforts'
The ministry rebuffed claims that Operation Peace Spring would damage efforts to reach a political solution in Syria, calling such claims divorced from reality.
The statement said that Turkey is one of the few countries that is in close cooperation with other Astana process guarantors and the UN.
In 2017 the Astana peace process to end the Syrian conflict was spearheaded by Turkey, Russia and Iran in Nur-Sultan (formerly Astana), Kazakhstan's capitol, and since then has seen over a dozen meetings.
Fighting the terrorist PYG/PKK will only spur the political process, the statement added.
“Our main expectation from the international community, particularly from our allies, is to support our fight against terrorism. As it did in the past, Turkey will continue to firmly counter all kinds of terrorist organizations,” said the statement.