By Ferdi Akilli
ZONGULDAK, Turkey (AA) – At least 70 asylum-seekers in Turkey’s Black Sea province have applied for voluntary military service to take part in Turkey’s ongoing military operation in northwestern Syria.
Uyghur, Afghan, and Uzbek asylum-seekers holding Turkish flags gathered in front of a military recruiting office in the Zonguldak province.
Muhammet Kasimiyan, who is from Afghanistan, submitted his application papers to the recruiting office.
“We have gathered [here] to try to join the operation,” Kasimiyan told reporters.
“We all came here today to show our support for the Olive Branch operation,” he said.
“We will fill out the application form and hopefully join the army.”
An Uyghur Turk, Kurshat Cumahun, said that Turkey was his home country now.
“We came [here] to support Turkey and its soldiers, and the Afrin operation. We shall sacrifice our lives for Turkey and our soldiers. We are praying for our soldiers,” he added.
Nihat Aygun, the head of the Turkish Red Crescent in Zonguldak, said that around 70 people came to fill out forms to participate in Turkey’s operation in Afrin.
Aygun said Turkey would not allow terror groups to divide it any way.
“We as the Turkish nation will not allow this.”
On Jan. 20, Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch to clear PYD/PKK and Daesh terrorists from Afrin, northwestern Syria.
According to a statement by 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 terrorist targets were being destroyed and "utmost care" was being shown to avoid harming any civilians.