By Murat Paksoy
ISTANBUL (AA) - Armenian Patriarchate of Turkey declared its support for the Turkish army in Operation Peace Spring on Friday.
Sahak Masalyan, head of Armenian Patriarchate of Turkey, spoke to press in Istanbul about the ongoing operation.
"We pray that the Operation Peace Spring, which aims to end terrorism and ensure the security of the borders, will continue in accordance with its purpose and establish peace and security as soon as possible," Masalyan said.
He stressed that the ongoing war and chaos in the Middle East, in near geography, especially in Syria, have deeply worried them.
"Unfortunately it’s not possible to establish peace with a peaceful path every time. May God protect our country and our people from disasters with mercy," he added.
"We are also praying for Syrians, who were tortured, oppressed, and forced to leave their country because of terror, for them to live in peace and look forward to a brighter future without losing faith in justice, peace and good days," he said.
"We always have prayers in our church for the army and survival of our country. We pray for our soldiers to return back to their home after finishing their mission in Operation Peace Spring," he added.
"May the Lord inspire our leaders and commanders with the spirit of wisdom, compassion, and common sense," he said.
- Operation Peace Spring
Turkey on Wednesday launched Operation Peace Spring east of the Euphrates River in northern Syria to secure its borders and Syria’s territorial integrity by eliminating terrorist elements and to ensure the safe return of Syrian refugees.
Turkey has said the PKK terrorist group and its extension the YPG/PYD constitute the biggest threat to Syria’s future, jeopardizing the country’s territorial integrity and unitary structure.
Ankara has also stressed that supporting terrorists under the pretext of fighting Daesh is unacceptable.
Turkey has a 911-kilometer (566-mile) border with Syria and has long decried the threat from terrorists east of the Euphrates River and the formation of a "terrorist corridor" there.
Turkey plans to resettle two million Syrians in a 30-km (19-mile) wide proposed safe zone in Syria stretching from the Euphrates River to the Iraqi border, including Manbij. However, the presence of terror groups such as the PKK, PYD and YPG risk its formation.
Turkey has freed an area of 4,000 square km (1,544 square miles) in Syria from terrorist groups in two separate cross-border operations.
Since 2016, Turkey has conducted two major military operations in northwestern Syria -- Operation Euphrates Shield and Operation Olive Branch -- to eradicate threats from Daesh and the YPG, which is the Syrian branch of the PKK terrorist group.
The two operations were in line with the country’s right to self-defense borne out of international law, UN Security Council resolutions, especially no. 1624 (2005), 2170 (2014) and 2178 (2014), and under the right to self-defense under Article 51 of the UN Charter while being respectful of Syria’s territorial integrity.
During Operation Euphrates Shield, Turkish forces neutralized 3,060 Daesh terrorists.
Turkey has suffered greatly from Daesh attacks inside the country.
More than 300 people have been killed in attacks claimed by Daesh in Turkey, where the terrorist group has targeted civilians in suicide bombings and armed attacks in recent years.
In its more than 30-year terror of campaign against Turkey, the PKK – listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the European Union -- has been responsible for the deaths of some 40,000 people, including women, children and infants.
* Writing by Davut Demircan