PM of Syria's Interim Government Jawad Abu Hatab
Turkey’s commitment to avoid civilian casualties amid the ongoing Operation Olive Branch in the northwestern Syrian region of Afrin has garnered everyone’s admiration, according to the Prime Minister of Syria’s Interim Government Jawad Abu Hatab.
Abu Hatab, who spoke exclusively to Yeni Şafak daily, said the Operation Olive Branch continues without any casualties among civilians in the region occupied by terrorists from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK)’s Syrian offshoot, the PYD, as the military campaign launched by Turkey enters its tenth day.
Abu Hatab noted that this sensitivity shows “the true mentality of Turkey” which has received everyone’s commendation.
“Operation Olive Branch will put an end to the PKK’s tyranny, and will galvanize the hopes of the people of Hama, Homs, Idlib and Deir Ezzor. The spirit of the 2011 revolution has been revived,” emphasized Abu Hatab.
“Our youths who came from every corner in Syria are fighting in the same trenches with Turkish soldiers for a common goal. We’re currently a 150,000-strong dynamic army. These are all Syria’s children. The number of soldiers fighting alongside the Assad regime fell to 45,000. Eighty percent of the militants currently fighting alongside Assad have been summoned from abroad.”
“I believe the Afrin operation will achieve its goals within a short period of time. A local council made up from Afrin residents will be established, which will be affiliated with the interim government. With the interim government’s measures put in place, Afrin will be like Azaz, al-Bab and Jarablus, which will be reflected in the whole region that spans 4,000 square kilometers,” said Abu Hatab.
“The rules for governing will be established, and after the operation we will begin work on setting up a local administration following the clearing of Afrin from PKK terrorists. The population’s needs, chiefly healthcare and food, will be determined and met in cooperation with Turkey, in order to ensure a return to normal life for civilians,” concluded Abu Hatab.
On Jan. 20, Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch to remove PYD/PKK and Daesh terrorists from Afrin. The operation aims to establish security and stability along Turkish borders and the region as well as to protect the Syrian people from the oppression and cruelty of terrorists, stated the Turkish General Staff.
The operation is being carried out under the framework of Turkey’s rights based on international law, UN Security Council’s decisions, self-defense rights under the UN charter and respect for Syria's territorial integrity, it said.
The military has also said that only terrorist targets are being destroyed and "utmost importance" is being given to not harm any 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 putting up a fight.
The PKK is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the European Union and the United States. The PKK has been conducting armed violence in the southeastern part of Turkey since 1984. More than 40,000 people, mostly civilians, have been killed in the three-decade long conflict.