UPDATES WITH QUOTES FROM FOREIGN MINISTRY
By Gozde Bayar
ANKARA (AA) – Turkey will assume the responsibility of Daesh elements held in detention centers in northern Syria within the scope of Turkey’s newly-launched operation east of the Euphrates, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said Saturday.
In a statement, Hami Aksoy, the ministry spokesman, said Turkey will undertake surveillance of the Daesh elements in detention centers and their families in camps located in the areas to be cleared of YPG/PKK terrorists.
Referring to the detainees in the prisons which are the under control of the SDF — a major component of which has been the YPG — Aksoy said Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan discussed the issue with his U.S. counterpart Donald Trump over phone.
“As President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stated in his last phone conversation with US President Trump, we will take over the custody of DEASH elements and their family members being held in detention facilities and camps in areas to be freed from terror by Operation Peace Spring,” Aksoy said.
“We are ready to work together with the countries of origin and international organizations for the rehabilitation of spouses and children who have not been involved in crimes committed by foreign terrorist fighters affiliated with DEASH,” he added.
The sustainable solution could be achieved if foreign terrorist fighters and their families in Syria would be returned to their countries of origin, will be put on trial and be rehabilitated, the spokesman said.
"We attach utmost importance to the joint efforts of the international community in this regard,” he said, adding that Turkey will continue to support in every possible way the international community’s efforts to this end.
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.