US can’t comprehend purpose of Afrin operation: Ministry
ANKARA – Anadolu Agency
United States authorities still cannot comprehend the reason, purpose and nature of Turkey’s counterterrorism operation in Syria’s northwestern city of Afrin, Turkey’s Foreign Ministry said on March 19.
“Operation Olive Branch is a counterterrorism operation. The operation in no way targets civilians. On the contrary, it aims to rescue the civilian population from the oppression and tyranny of a terrorist organization, spokesman Hami Aksoy said in a statement. The ministry was responding to a question about a statement by U.S. State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert concerning the situation in Afrin.
Aksoy said Nauert’s statement “reveals that U.S. authorities still cannot or unfortunately do not want to comprehend the reason, purpose and nature of ‘Operation Olive Branch.’”
It added that “all precautions have been taken to avoid harming civilians and the civilian population has been provided with access to humanitarian aid.”
Aksoy also rejected the claim that the operation against terrorists in Afrin would endanger the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), saying it was “completely groundless.”
“The approach that actually undermines the fight against terrorism in Syria is the use of one terrorist organization against another and allowing this particular terrorist organization to create faits accomplis on the ground by pushing forward its separatist agenda and to make demographic changes,” the statement said.
Turkey launched “Operation Olive Branch” on Jan. 20 to clear militant groups from Afrin in northwestern Syria amid growing threats posed from the region.