AFRIN, Syria / ANKARA
The people of the recently liberated Syrian city of Afrin welcomed Turkey’s Operation Olive Branch as it brought peace to the city, said a prominent Syrian Turkmen leader on Saturday.
“We are here in Afrin, but without terror. From now on, only peace will prevail,” Mohamed Wajih Juma, head of the Syrian Turkmen Assembly (STA), told Anadolu Agency after meeting with residents of the city, which was liberated on March 18 by the Turkish military and the Free Syrian Army (FSA).
“We bring many greetings from all over Syria, especially from Turkmens, from Aleppo, Homs, Damascus, Turkmen Mountain [in Latakia], and Raqqah,” Joma said.
He extended his thanks and appreciation to the Turkish Army and FSA, saying,[tooltip id=”4500c2f113202943ff1ae30d00c9d4ac”] [/tooltip]“They fought shoulder-to-shoulder and brought peace to this region. All [Afrin] residents are welcoming Operation Olive Branch because they live in peace now.”
Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch on Jan.[tooltip id=”4500c2f113202943ff1ae30d00c9d4ac”] [/tooltip]20 to clear terrorist groups from Afrin, northwestern Syria amid growing threats from the region.
On March 18, Turkish-backed troops liberated the town of Afrin, a major hideout for the terrorist organization PYD/PKK since 2012.
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, said Turkish military.
The military also said only terror targets are being destroyed and the “utmost care” is being taken to not harm civilians.
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