“We completely reject the baseless claims in Amnesty International’s report on the Operation Peace Spring,” the ministry said in a written statement on Oct. 20.
The ministry said that it considers these unfounded claims as part of a “smear campaign” against “our struggle with the terrorism threat that originates from Syria and targets our national security,” the statement said.
The statement reiterated that Operation Peace Spring is a counter-terrorism operation against PYD/YPG terrorist organization which threatens Turkey’s national security and Syria’s territorial integrity through its separatist agenda.
“Only PYD/YPG elements and their shelters, positions, weapons, tools and equipment are targeted in the planning and implementation of the operation,” it added.
The ministry stressed that all necessary precautions are taken to prevent damage to civilians and civilian infrastructure.
It also reminded that the Syrian National Army, which supports Turkey’s anti-terror operation, has set up a Commission of Inquiry to investigate cases of civilian casualties allegedly caused by its elements.
PYD/YPG’s ties with the PKK, which is also considered a terrorist organization by the EU and NATO, crimes and violations committed by its elements have been repeatedly documented, it highlighted.
The statement called on Amnesty International to review these documents by independent international organizations, including itself.
The ministry’s statement came after Amnesty International’s statement on Oct. 18 which claimed that Turkey carried out “violations” during its anti-terror operation into northeast Syria.
Previously, Amnesty International in its report on Oct. 13 said that YPG forces in northern Syria had committed war crimes during its battles with ISIL.
The human rights body said that thousands of people had been deliberately forced to leave their homes and entire villages were razed to the ground by YPG fighters.
On Oct. 9, Turkey had launched Operation Peace Spring to eliminate terrorists from northern Syria in order to secure Turkey’s borders, aid in the safe return of Syrian refugees and ensure Syria’s territorial integrity.
Ankara wants to clear northern Syria east of the Euphrates River of the terrorist PKK and its Syrian offshoot, the YPG/PKK.
Hurriyet Daily News