By Omer Koparan
AFRİN, Syria (AA) - Free Syrian Army (FSA) Commander Abu Maryam on Sunday gave assurances to civilians that his fighters were only targeting PKK/PYD terrorists.
Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch on Saturday at 5 p.m.(1400GMT) in Syria’s northwestern Afrin region; the aim of the operation is to establish security and stability along Turkish borders and the region as well as to eliminate PKK/KCK/PYD-YPG and Daesh terror groups, and protect the Syrian people from the oppression and cruelty of terrorists.
FSA fighters, backed by Turkish military, were continuing to move forward in Afrin.
“With Allah’s help, we will enter the city center soon. We ask people to not be afraid. We only target PKK/PYD terrorist, not civilians,” Commander Abu Maryam told Anadolu Agency.
The operation is being conducted under the framework of Turkey’s rights based on international law, UN Security Council’s decisions, especially no. 1624 (2005), 2170 (2014) and 2178 (2014) and as per the self-defense right under 51st item of the UN charter, while being respectful to Syria’s territorial integrity.
The military also said only terrorist targets were being destroyed and “utmost importance” was being given to not harm any civilian.
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.
A quarter of Syria land and 65 percent of Turkey-Syria border are currently under occupation of the terrorist organization.