Turkey blasts West for ‘remaining silent’ on YPG attacks on civilians, says YPG uses ‘human shields’
ANTALYA - ANKARA
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu has criticized the West for not highlighting the civilian casualties in Turkey stemming from attacks by the U.S.-backed Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG).
Recalling a 17-year-old teenager killed in the southern Reyhanlı district of Hatay after rockets were fired across the border, and another attack on Feb. 2, the minister said: “Why don’t you defend the rights of civilians killed here? Does she need to be a terrorist to defend her rights?”
Turkey’s “Operation Olive Branch” not only aims to destroy an existential threat to Turkey, but also “protect the country’s territorial integrity, and bring stability and peace to Syria,” the minister told reporters in the southern province of Antalya.
The minister also cited a statement from the Chairman of World Assyrian Congress, accusing the YPG of using Christian youngsters as human shields against the Turkish army and Free Syrian Army (FSA) and seizing their properties.
“When Turkey talks about this situation, it falls on deaf ears,” he said.
On Jan. 20, Turkey launched “Operation Olive Branch” to clear the YPG militants from the Afrin district in northwestern Syria.
Meanwhile, the Foreign Ministry warned against “dark propaganda” made by the YPG over claims that the Turkish army was “killing civilians” in the operation.
“The terrorist organization strives to present the terrorists neutralized during the operation as innocent civilians,” Ministry spokesperson Hami Aksoy said in a written statement on Feb. 2.
Contrary to allegations, the Turkish Armed Forces is not using ammunition prohibited by international law and treaties, said the spokesperson.
In addition, religious and cultural structures, historical monuments and archaeological remains and facilities operating in the public interest have not been targeted since the operation began, said Aksoy.