Operation Peace Spring starts in N Syria: Erdoğan
Turkish troops along with the Syrian National Army have begun Operation Peace Spring against the PKK/YPG and ISIL terrorists in northern Syria, Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced on Oct. 9.
“Our Turkish Armed Forces with Syrian National Army has started the #OperationPeaceSpring against the PKK/YPG and Daesh terrorist organizations, in northern Syria. Our aim is to wipe out the terror corridor, trying to be implemented in our southern border, and bring peace and security to the region,” Erdoğan said in a tweet.
“With Operation Peace Spring, we will eliminate the terror threats towards our country. With the SAFE ZONE we will establish, we will provide the return of Syrian refugees to their countries. We will protect the territorial integrity of Syria and save the region’s people from the claws of terror,” Erdoğan added.
Meanwhile, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said Operation Peace Spring is being carried out under international law, the U.N. Charter and U.N. Security Council resolutions on the fight against terrorism.
Turkey informed members of the U.N. Security Council members about the Operation Peace Spring.
Envoys of the UNSC member countries in Ankara, including the United States, were invited to the foreign ministry and briefed on the operation, a Foreign Ministry official said.
The United States, the Russian Federation, England, Germany, France and Italy, NATO and the United Nations secretary general were informed about the Peace Spring Operation as of 2 p.m. local time, the Defense Ministry said in a tweet.
The operation started at 4 p.m. local time, the ministry said in a statement.
The ministry said the operation was launched "to provide security for our borders and prevent the formation of a terror corridor, to neutralize the terrorists and terrorist organizations that pose a threat to our national security, especially the Daesh and PKK/KCK/PYD-YPG, and to provide proper conditions for the displaced Syrians’ return.”
Erdoğan also called leaders of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) and oppositional IYI (Good) Party by phone and informed them about the operation.
Turkey's Vice President Fuat Oktay said for his part: "Our heroic army with Operation Peace Spring will secure our borders, bring peace and stability to east of the Euphrates and ensure Syrians return home safely."
Mustafa Şentop, Turkish parliament speaker, said: "Operation Peace Spring commenced by Turkey aims to ensure the stability of our region that the terrorist organizations desire to sentence to chaos."
"Turkey is conducting an operation with the sole aim of achieving peace. By this operation, all the people of the region shall win," he added.
Şentop also said: "Turkey has used all means of solution and negotiation against the threat of terror, but the terror groups formed in the south of Turkey have continued with their activities."
"The sole purpose of the commenced operation is to eliminate the threat of terror against Turkey," he added.
In the meantime, the leaders of political parties have commented on the the newly-launched operation.
“We pray for the #OperationPeaceSpring to be successfully completed as soon as possible, without even a nose-bleed of our heroic soldiers,” CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaorğlu said on Twitter.
“When Turkish artillerymen start shooting, everyone keeps quiet,” İYİ Party leader Meral Akşener tweeted on Oct. 9.
“The [MHP] is behind and gives full support to the Operation Peace Spring,” party leader Devlet Bahçeli tweeted.
“A safe zone in parallel with land borders of our country in the north of Syria will be established and peace, tranquility and stability will settle in the region with Operation Peace Spring which is in accordance with international law and legitimacy measures,” he said.
Turkey has launched Operation Peace Spring east of the Euphrates River in northern Syria to secure its borders by eliminating terrorist elements to ensure the safe return of Syrian refugees and Syria's territorial integrity.
Turkey has said the terrorist group PKK and its extension the YPG/PYD constitute the biggest threat to Syria's future, jeopardizing the country's territorial integrity and unitary structure.
Turkey has also stressed that supporting terrorists under the pretext of fighting ISIL is unacceptable.
Turkey has a 911-kilometer (566-mile) border with Syria and it has long decried the threat from terrorists east of the Euphrates and the formation of a “terrorist corridor” there.
Turkey plans to resettle 2 million Syrians in a 30-km-wide (19-mi) safe zone to be set up in Syria, stretching from the Euphrates River to the Iraqi border, including Manbij. However, the presence of terror groups such as the PKK, PYD, and YPG risk its formation.
Turkey has rid an area of 4,000 square km (1,544 square miles) in Syria of terrorist groups in two separate cross-border operations. Since 2016, Turkey has conducted two major military operations in northwestern Syria -- Operation Euphrates Shield and Olive Branch -- to purge the region of the terrorist groups ISIL and the YPG, which is the Syrian branch of the terrorist group PKK.
The two operations were in line with the country's right to self-defense borne out of international law, UN Security Council resolutions, especially no. 1624 (2005), 2170 (2014) and 2178 (2014), and under the right to self-defense under Article 51 of the UN Charter, while being respectful of Syria's territorial integrity.
During Operation Euphrates Shield, Turkish forces neutralized 3,060 ISILterrorists. Turkey has suffered greatly from ISIL attacks inside the country. More than 300 people have been killed in attacks claimed by ISIL in Turkey, where the terrorist group has targeted civilians in suicide bombings and armed attacks in recent years.
In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK -- listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU -- has been responsible for the deaths of some 40,000 people, including women, children, and infants.