Tal Abyad, Ras al-Ain towns ‘under control’: Defense minister
Turkish troops have taken control of Tal Abyad and Ras al-Ain border towns of Syria, Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said on Oct. 14.
“Tel Abyad and Ras al-Ain are under control. Work for the control of the region is ongoing,” he told reporters after his meeting with the leader of opposition İYİ (Good) Party, Meral Akşener.
Akar had a round of meetings with the political parties in parliament. He also visited the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and was to meet with Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli after the Daily News went to print late Oct. 14.
“We are pleased to see the support given by the citizens in Tel Abyad in Ras al-Ain in favor of our country,” he said.
Turkey is determined to do its best on the issue of captivity camps for ISIL members in Syria, Akar said. Reports show that only one prison with ISIL members is in the area of Turkey’s “Operation Peace Spring.”
“We got there, we have seen that the Daesh [Arabic acronym for ISIL] prison was emptied. We have detected that YPG people have taken Deash members,” he said. The Turkish security forces took visuals of this situation and discussed it with the “interlocutors there,” he added.
The Turkish Armed forces are careful not to harm “innocent” people during the operation, the minister said, stressing that their target is “terrorists.”
Turkey on Oct. 9 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 and Syria’s territorial integrity.
Ankara wants to clear east of the Euphrates River in northern Syria of what it calls the Syrian offshoot of the PKK: The YPG.
The U.S.-backed SDF, a group dominated by the YPG, has been controlling some 28 percent of Syrian territories, including the majority of the 911-kilometer 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 European Union.