Operation Olive Branch struck a blow to the U.S. plan to establish a terror corridor on its southern border and a great game that was scheduled for May. Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) terrorists, which the U.S. has continued to support, were due to receive heavy weaponry to be used in an attack against Turkey in May.
Zeynel Abidin Erdem, a businessman who spoke with the people of Midyat, Nusaybin and Kızıltepe among other districts of Turkey’s southeast city of Mardin, shared his observations with Yeni Şafak daily.
“The impression I gained from these trips was that if the Turkish Armed Forces had not entered Afrin, the U.S. and its terrorist allies would move further. We ruined a big game. Mr. Tayyip ruined a game like July 15,” said Erdem.
The U.S. had previously announced that it would form a 30,000-strong “border security force” composed of PKK/PYD terrorists in Syria’s north.
TAF: 1,528 terrorists 'neutralized' since onset of Operation Olive Branch
A total of 1,528 PYD/PKK and Daesh terrorists have been "neutralized" since the beginning of Operation Olive Branch in Syria's northwestern region of Afrin, Turkish military said on Thursday.Turkish authorities often use the word "neutralized" in their statements to imply the terrorists in question either surrendered or were killed or captured.In a statement, Turkish General Staff said the military’s overnight airstrikes “neutralized” 43 PYD/PKK and Daesh terrorists.On Jan. 20, Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch to clear PYD/PKK and Daesh terrorists from Afrin, northwestern Syria.Video: Turkish army clears landmines on Afrin’s Mt. BursayaAccording to the Turkish General Staff, the operation aims to establish security and stability along Turkey’s borders and the region as well as to protect Syrians from terrorist oppression and cruelty.The operation 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, it said.The military also said only terror targets were being destroyed and the "utmost care and sensitivity" were being used to not harm civilians.
‘A very big game was ruined’
“Tribal leaders in the southeast region of northern Syria announced that terrorists were preparing to attack Turkey in May. In fact, in conversations that I held with community leaders, they said they were worried about why Turkey had not taken action. They asked ‘Are they waiting for something?’ However, with the launch of the Afrin operation, I saw everyone relax. A very big game was ruined. We acted early before the terrorists attacked us. The heavy weapons of the east of the Euphrates were waiting to be deployed to Afrin. Olive Branch was a big disappointment for them [terrorists]. The people living in the region are now at ease. Now thousands of people are praying for Erdoğan, saying they want to be taken to the military if necessary,” he added.
The U.S has supplied the PYD terror organization with more than 5,000 truckloads of weapons to allegedly use in the fight against Daesh, despite Ankara’s warnings that the group is the Syrian offshoot of the PKK terror organization.
Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch on Jan. 20 in Syria’s Afrin to establish security and stability, PKK/KCK/PYD-YPG and Daesh eliminate terrorists, and save locals from their oppression and cruelty.
02:19 dk 15 Şubat 2018 Yeni Şafak Turkish army clears landmines on Afrin’s Mt. Bursaya
As Turkey's Operation Olive Branch continues, landmines that were planted by terrorists from the PKK/PYD on Afrin's Mount Bursaya were neutralized and seized by explosive experts from the Turkish Army. On Jan. 20, Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch along with the Free Syrian Army (FSA) to clear PYD/PKK and Daesh terrorists from Afrin, northwestern Syria.
‘I went to the military recruitment office’
“On the day the Afrin operation started, I went to the military recruitment office and volunteered. There are at least 10 million people ready to volunteer. The people of Turkey know very well how to fight and how to be friendly when necessary. This nation successfully passed the test of July 15. I saw the Turkish people, the Kurdish people, the Assyrians, and Armenians are collectively behind Mr. Tayyip. Everyone is ready to march to death in order to protect their country. I saw that all of Turkey was ready to stand behind Recep Tayyip Erdoğan with the Afrin operation,” Erdem said.
U.S.-based Fetullah Gülen orchestrated a coup attempt in Turkey on July 15 and is the mastermind behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police and judiciary.
‘US cannot hide terror groups by changing their names'
Deputy Prime Minister and Government Spokesman Bekir Bozdağ on Wednesday said that the United States should know that it cannot conceal the PYD/PKK terror group by changing its name.Bozdağ tweeted: "The U.S. should give up hindering Turkey [in its efforts against] the PKK/KCK/PYD/YPG terrorist organization. They should know that they cannot hide terrorist organizations and terrorists by changing their names or logos. [This] cannot change the truth and cannot deceive anyone."He also urged the U.S. administration to abide by its promise to Turkey regarding cutting Washington’s support to the PYD/PKK terror group in Syria and to collect weapons from the terrorists.Bozdağ also said Turkey would not let “the PKK/KCK/PYD and YPG to conduct ethnic and ideological cleansing, [and] change the demographic structure of the region".He added Ankara will prevent a new refugee influx with Operation Olive Branch in Afrin, northwestern Syria.“We will not allow the establishment of a terror army and terror state across our border under the disguise of Border Security Forces,” he said referring to the Pentagon’s plan to form a border force of PYD/PKK terrorists.He added: "We will ensure the security of our country, our border and the region.”On Jan. 20, Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch to remove PYD/PKK and Daesh terrorists from Afrin.According to the Turkish General Staff, the operation aims to establish security and stability along Turkey’s borders and the region as well as to protect Syrians from oppression and cruelty of terrorists.The operation 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, it said.The military also said only terrorist targets were being destroyed and "utmost importance" was being put on avoiding harm to civilians.Afrin has been a major hideout for the PYD/PKK since July 2012 when the Assad regime in Syria left the city to the terror group without a fight.
Aid supplies found in PYD/PKK hideouts in Afrin
Turkish soldiers and Free Syrian Army (FSA) fighters on Wednesday discovered relief supplies in caves in Afrin used by PYD/PKK terrorists as hideouts.Items such as food and bags of medical supplies with the logo of the Syrian Red Crescent and International Red Cross were found during searches launched by Turkish troops and the FSA in the area, which had been liberated from the PYD/PKK.It is well known that the Bashar al-Assad regime has been offering logistical support to PYD/PKK terrorists occupying Afrin since the beginning of the civil war.Asked by an Anadolu Agency correspondent how the relief supplies had wound up in the caves, a spokeswoman for the International Committee of the Red Cross in Geneva said the organization had sent aid for 10,000 to 50,000 displaced people from Syria’s Afrin and Tell Rifaat last year.“The last convoy had dispatched [the aid] two months ago,” said Iolanda Jaquemet.“The Red Cross is an independent, non-partisan organization. We have never sent humanitarian aid to combatants, and we have been handing it over to Syria’s Red Crescent. They are in charge of its delivery,” she added.She said that going forward, they will closely monitor aid dispatches to determine whether they have reached people in need.
PKK lost ground in Iraq due to Turkey: PM Yıldırım
Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım on Wednesday said PKK has lost ground in northern Iraq due to Turkey's effective fight against terrorism.Speaking to BBC Turkish Radio, Yıldırım raised a number of issues including the ongoing operation in northwestern Syria, Turkey-U.S relations and the Russian and French reaction to Turkey's move. On Jan. 20, Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch to clear PYD/PKK and Daesh terrorists from Afrin.Yıldırım said PKK had relocated its activities from northern Iraq to Syria for two reasons.Firstly, due to Turkey's successful anti-terror operations in Iraq, and secondly, through U.S. encouragement to move their activities to Syria.He reiterated that the ongoing operation in Afrin was to liberate the Kurds, Arabs and Turkmen.So far, 1,485 PYD/PKK and Daesh terrorists have been "neutralized" since the beginning of Operation Olive Branch, according to the Turkish General Staff on Wednesday.The military generally uses the term "neutralize" to signify that the targets were killed.Yıldırım said in the 24 days of the operation, 107 rockets fired by the terror group had targeted civilians in Turkey's border provinces.He rejected French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian's statement about the operation.Last week, Le Drian claimed that Turkey had targeted civilians in the operation and “violated international law".Referring to French colonialism in Africa which led to civilian deaths, he said: "Its track record in Africa is too bad. Not one, two, we are talking about millions."Speaking on Turkey-Russia relations after the operation, he said: “Russia does not consider it [YPG] as terrorist organization but, it has no objection against our Afrin operation."When asked about the U.S. funding of PYD/PKK terror group, he said: “What a grave contradiction! We are NATO and strategic allies. They [U.S.] have bases in our country. Our cooperation dates back years. While all is clear, America is [working] hand in hand with terror groups…”The U.S. has worked with the PYD/YPG/PKK as a “reliable ally” in the fight against Daesh, including supplying them weapons, against strong Turkish objections that the group is the Syrian branch of the terrorist PKK, and that using one terrorist group to fight another makes no sense.The PKK -- recognized as a terrorist group by the U.S., EU, and Turkey -- has taken some 40,000 lives in its three-decade terror campaign against Turkey.If approved by Congress, the U.S. would provide $550 million to Syrian groups, including the PYD/PKK-led SDF.In Manbij, northern Syria, he said, taking sides with PYD/PKK meant bearing enmity against Turkey.On the possibility of a clash between Turkish and U.S. troops, he said, Turkey will not initiate any attack, but will defend itself if the need arises.
Tillerson wants more cooperation with Turkey on Syria
Washington hopes to cooperate with Ankara to minimize threats against Turkey and fight Daesh, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Wednesday."We hope to have talks about how we can work cooperatively to lessen those threats to Turkey but ultimately achieve the objective in Syria," Tillerson said at a joint press conference with Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi in Amman, Jordan.Turkey is "an important NATO ally and partner in the region", according to Tillerson, who said it faces threats within its border as well as from areas in Iraq and Syria.He also noted Washington and Ankara are committed to the "same outcomes" in Syria, including the defeat of Daesh, the de-escalation of violence there and moving the Geneva peace talks forward.The UN-backed international peace conference is aimed at ending the Syrian civil war by bringing together the Syrian government and opposition to discuss steps toward a transitional government."I think what will benefit Turkey the most will be a successful peace process in Geneva that stabilizes all of Syria," he added.But just a day earlier in Kuwait, Tillerson sounded a different tone when he said Turkey's military operation to remove terror groups in Afrin is hampering the U.S.-led coalition’s efforts to maintain the focus on the fight against Daesh in Syria.Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch on Jan. 20 to clear PYD/PKK and Daesh terrorists from Afrin in northwestern Syria.The operation against the PKK/KCK/PYD-YPG and Daesh terror groups is being conducted within the framework of Turkey’s sovereign rights based on international law, UN Security Council resolutions and self-defense rights under the UN Charter.Tillerson arrived in Amman late Tuesday as part of a wider Middle East tour that has already taken him to Egypt and Kuwait.Following his departure from Jordan, he is scheduled to visit Lebanon and Turkey, where he will meet senior Turkish officials to discuss a range of bilateral and regional issues.
UN report on Afrin contradicted by facts on ground
The United Nations seems to have included claims, which are contrary to the facts, in its report on recent developments in northwestern Syria.The report released by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) on Feb. 7, claimed that civilians were displaced “from peripheral communities towards central Afrin district”.However, the fact is civilians were forcibly directed to the Afrin’s center by the PYD/PKK terrorists. The terrorist group dug ditches around Afrin’s center and build defensive walls, and was preparing to use the civilians as shields in possible clashes.Although the report said there was an Internet outage in Afrin, Anadolu Agency correspondents on the ground reported the PYD/PKK terrorist organization deliberately cut the Internet to prevent the people’s access to information and communication.The report further claimed that on Feb. 6 “many civilians, who are not originally from Afrin, were allowed to cross to GoS [Government of Syria]-held areas”, but on the contrary, PYD/PKK asked for high bribes from those, who were not from Afrin but wanted to leave the city.Families separatedThe UN report said families were separated by “restrictions on freedom of movement targeting adult males.”Last July, Anadolu Agency reported the PYD/PKK terrorists separated families by forcibly recruiting their men. The terrorist group was reported to have been forcing young people to fight for them in the name of “self-defense”.Some of the villagers hid on the mountains, while some of them hid in safer places, Anadolu Agency reported.The PYD/PKK also takes old men hostage in a bid to force their sons to return and join the organization.In the report, it was also claimed the education was suspended in Afrin, whereas the information regarding its reason was not given. But it is widely known that children are taken away from their homes and threatened to be sent to the fronts by the terrorists.Aims to scare civiliansThe report also claimed Azaz district was targeted on Feb. 3, 4 and 5. It said one of the attacks “hit a vehicle carrying civilians, killing one child and injuring six people who were reportedly transferred to hospitals in Turkey for treatment".However, Anadolu Agency correspondents in Azaz district reported these attacks were carried out by PYD/PKK. On Feb. 3, seven missiles were fired to a market place in Azaz, which injured four civilians.On Feb. 4, a rocket attack was launched, which hit a refugee camp in the district. No casualties were reported in the incident.The last attack in question took place on Feb. 5, when PYD/PKK terrorists in Afrin fired a missile from Mt. Bafilun, and killed one civilian and injured five others.The rockets fired by the terrorists to target Turkey’s border provinces of Hatay and Kilis often hit residential areas in Azaz.The terrorist organization poses a threat for the Operation Euphrates Shield areas, as well.Operation Euphrates Shield was conducted jointly by the Turkish Armed Forces and the Free Syrian Army (FSA), from August 2016 to late March 2017, to improve security, support coalition forces and eliminate terror threats along the Turkish border.No water shortageThe report also claimed that water was limited in Afrin district as “the provision of water through the piped network stopped on Jan. 27” allegedly due to airstrikes of Turkish Armed Forces near a dam.However, the civilians in the villages liberated from terror and Anadolu Agency correspondents shot videos of Turkish and Free Syrian Army forces providing clean water, food and other type of aid materials.While the report claimed “other sources reported that it was due to lack of fuel to operate the water pumps,” the correspondents of Anadolu Agency in Afrin reported the water infrastructure in the area was being operated well and there was no water shortage.On Jan. 20, Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch to remove PYD/PKK and Daesh terrorists from Afrin.According to the Turkish General Staff, the operation aims to establish security and stability along Turkey’s borders and the region as well as to protect Syrians from oppression and cruelty of terrorists.The operation 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, it said.The military also said only terrorist targets were being destroyed and "utmost importance" was being put on avoiding harm to civilians.Afrin has been a major hideout for the PYD/PKK since July 2012 when the Assad regime in Syria left the city to the terror group without a fight.