Turkey is taking all necessary precautions to avoid civilian casualties in “Operation Olive Branch” into Syria’s Afrin, Parliamentary Foreign Affairs Commission head Volkan Bozkır has said in a letter penned to NATO, European Union and Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) member countries.
“Terrorists and their shelters, emplacements, weapons, vehicles and equipment are being targeted. All necessary precautions have been taken to avoid harm to civilians. The operation will end only when its objective is accomplished,” Bozkır said in the Jan. 24 letter, also sent to the Foreign Affairs Commission heads of Turkey’s neighboring parliaments.
“Turkey remains respectful of the territorial integrity and political unity of Syria and is eager to contribute to these principles. We will continue in our efforts to find a political solution in Syria as soon as possible,” he added.
Bozkır’s letter, sent on the fifth day of the Turkish military’s operation into Afrin against Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), stated the reasons behind Turkey’s initiation of such an operation.
It stated that the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) and the YPG militia “have been trying to create a corridor of terror” in northern Syrian territory, reiterating Ankara’s stance against all groups affiliated with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which is also recognized as a terrorist organization by NATO, the EU, and the U.S.
“There has recently been a significant increase in rocket attacks and harassment fire from PYD/YPG/PKK/KCK-controlled Afrin, targeting military posts, patrols and bases in Turkey’s Hatay and Kilis provinces. The attacks have resulted in the deaths of soldiers and many civilians,” he wrote, also claiming that the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) is active in Afrin.
“There is also a risk of DEASH elements infiltrating into Turkey through this area and threatening the security of both Turkey and the European countries,” he added, using an Arabic acronym for ISIL.
Stressing that the operation is being carried out “in full respect of Syria’s territorial integrity, political unity, and national security,” Bozkır said “it aims to eliminate PYD/YPG/PKK/KCK and DEASH terrorists in Afrin as well as to free the brotherly people of Syria from cruelty and oppression.”
“With respect to the global challenges that we all face today, transparency and direct communication through effective parliamentary diplomacy are needed more than ever to prevent disinformation and for the correct assessment of facts on the ground,” he added.