By Muhammet Emin Avundukluoglu
In its current Operation Olive Branch, Turkey aims to eliminate the PYD/PKK’s terror corridor in northwestern Syria, said the head of the Turkish delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly on Monday.
"As in Operation Euphrates Shield, Turkey aims to eliminate the terror corridor that is being created at our borders, to finally end the oppression of the terrorist organizations on the people of the region, and to restore peace to the region," Berat Conkar said in a letter to Paolo Alli, the president of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, and delegation heads of NATO countries.
Conkar said that only terrorist elements and their shelters, weapons, and equipment are being targeted in the operation.
"All kinds of attention and sensitivity are shown to prevent civilians from being harmed," said Conkar, an Istanbul deputy of Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party.
Operation Euphrates Shield began in August 2016 and ended in late March 2017 to improve security, support coalition forces, and eliminate the terror threat along the Turkish border.
Conkar said Operation Olive Branch aims to preserve NATO’s southern borders and respect Syria’s territorial integrity.
"As Operation Euphrates Shield clearly contributed to the security and stability of the region and the NATO members, I can assure you that Operation Olive Branch will also assist our mutual commitment to ensuring security and stability in the world," said the letter.
Operation Olive Branch is being carried out under the framework of Turkey’s rights based on international law, UN Security Council resolutions, its self-defense rights under the UN charter, and respect for Syria's territorial integrity, according to the Turkish General Staff.
The military also said only terrorist targets are being destroyed and "utmost importance" is being placed on not harming any civilians.
The PYD/PKK is the Syrian offshoot of the PKK terrorist group, which has been designated a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S., and the EU.