First night in anti-terror operation successful, says Defense Ministry

First night in anti-terror operation successful, says Defense Ministry

ANKARA-Anadolu Agency
First night in anti-terror operation successful, says Defense Ministry

Turkey's freshly-launched anti-terror operation in northern Syria was carried out successfully by air and land overnight, said the country's National Defense Ministry on Oct. 10.

“The Operation Peace Spring has been carried out successfully both by air and land throughout the night. Pre-determined targets have been captured,” the ministry said on Twitter.

“The operation is ongoing as planned,” it added.

Turkish troops advance into northern Syria
Turkish troops advance into northern Syria

PKK/YPG terrorists in northern Syria are hiding in schools and hospitals and attacking civilian settlements in Turkey with rockets, wounding innocent civilians, according to the ministry.

“PKK / PYD-YPG terrorists, who aim to create a terror corridor east of the Euphrates, have been carrying out mortar and rocket attacks against civilian areas by hiding in civilian buildings, schools and hospitals,” the ministry said in a Twitter post.

“Innocent civilians have been wounded in mortar/rocket attacks against civilian areas by the bloody PKK/PYD-YPG terrorists with no regard for humanitarian values,” it added.

'Operation aims to form safe zone in N Syria’

The operation aims to form a safe zone and to eliminate the terror groups in northern Syria, the head of the Turkish Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee said on Oct. 10.

"The operation aims to form a safe zone and to eliminate the terror groups there," Volkan Bozkır told members of the committee.

"The operations also aims to resettle Syrians, who we have been hosting for a long time, by ensuring a suitable environment in the region," Bozkır added.

On Oct. 9 Turkey launched Operation Peace Spring east of the Euphrates River in northern Syria to secure its borders by eliminating terrorist elements and to ensure the safe return of Syrian refugees as well as Syria'sterritorial integrity.

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, Turkish leaders have said.

Ankara has also stressed that supporting terrorists under the pretext of fighting ISIL is unacceptable.

Turkey shares 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.

In two separate cross-border operations, Turkey has rid an area of 4,000 square km (1,544 sq mi) in Syria of terrorist groups.

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 under international law, UN Security Council resolutions, especially no. 1624 (2005), 2170 (2014) and 2178 (2014), and the right to self-defense under the Article 51 of UN Charter, while being respectful of Syria's territorial integrity.

During Operation Euphrates Shield, Turkish forces neutralized 3,060 ISIL terrorists.

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.

The U.S.-backed SDF, a group dominated by the YPG, has been controlling some 28 percent of the Syrian territories, including the most of the 911-kilometer-long Syria-Turkey border. Turkey deems the YPG the Syrian offshoot of the illegal PKK, which is listed as a terrorist organization also by the United States and the EU.