By Ali Murat Alhas
ANKARA (AA) - The National Defense Ministry on Sunday said Turkey’s counter-terrorism campaign in Syria, dubbed "Operation Peace Spring," has been conducted in line with the UN legislation, international laws, and as well as country’s historical and traditional values.
"Only terrorists have been targeted in Operation Peace Spring which has been conducted within the relevant guidelines of the UN and the 'right to self-defense' derived from international law," said the ministry on Twitter.
"Just as with previous operations, we have acted accordingly with international law regarding target selection and its utilization throughout the duration of this operation, and therefore terrorists have been identified by careful and considerate means and methods," it added.
"Operation Peace Spring has been conducted with our spiritual, occupational, and ethic values which form a significant part of our culture and our deep-rooted history, and has been planned and carried out in a way that will not cause harm to any innocent civilians, historic-cultural structures of the environment," the ministry said.
It added that Turkey continued its activities in helping daily life return to normal, as well as removing explosives and mines in the region as part of facilitating the safe zone.
The YPG/PKK terror group conducted car-bomb attacks, and target innocent civilians and "savagely massacring many of our Syrian brethren," it noted.
"While effort is being made to help our evicted Syrian brethren safely and voluntarily return to their lands and their homes as part of the objective for facilitating the safe zone, necessary response is given to attacks and infiltration attempts by YPG/PKK terrorists within the guidelines of 'self-defense' rules," it added.
Turkey on Oct. 9 launched Operation Peace Spring to eliminate YPG/PKK 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 YPG/PKK terrorists to withdraw from the region so a safe zone can be created to pave the way for the safe return of some two million refugees.
In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK -- listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and EU -- has been responsible for the deaths of 40,000 people, including women, children, and infants. The YPG is the PKK's Syrian offshoot.