By Esref Musa and Burak Karacaoglu
IDLIB, Syria (AA) – The people of the embattled Syrian province of Idlib on Friday voiced support for Turkey’s newly launched anti-terror operation in northern Syria, at the same time denouncing the terrorist YPG/PKK.
Thousands of civilians from throughout Idlib -- an area battered by Syrian regime attacks -- staged a demonstration in support of Turkey’s Operation Peace Spring and against the terrorist groups that have plagued the region.
The demonstrators held up banners in both Turkish and Arabic saying, “Just as Daesh doesn’t represent Islam, the YPG/PKK doesn’t represent Kurds” and “Peace Spring has started for peace.”
“We support this operation and the Syrian National Army (SNA),” referring to the group supporting the Turkish army operation, demonstrator Nizar Hammud told Anatolu Agency.
“It will rescue displaced people and those who are sleeping under olive trees.”
Voicing similar views, demonstrator Ahmet Hoca said: “These people have gathered here to protest the efforts to divide Syria and to support Operation Peace Spring.”
“I am sure this operation will end successfully,” he added.
Turkey on Wednesday launched Operation Peace Spring east of the Euphrates River in northern Syria to secure its borders by eliminating terrorist elements and to ensure the safe return of Syrian refugees and Syria’s territorial integrity.
Ankara wants to eliminate terrorist elements of the PKK and its Syrian offshoot, the PYD/YPG, from the region.
In its more than 30-year terror 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 40,000 people, including women, children, and infants.
In 2018 Turkey and Russia agreed to turn Idlib into a de-escalation zone in which acts of aggression are expressly prohibited.
The Syrian regime, however, has consistently broken the terms of the cease-fire, launching frequent attacks inside the de-escalation zone.