By Aynur Ekiz
ANKARA (AA) – The terrorist group YPG/PKK, which the U.S. has called its “reliable ally,” is using human shields to stop Turkey’s lawful counter-terrorist operation in northwestern Syria, wrote Ibrahim Kalin, Turkey's presidential aide.
“The use of human shields to stop Turkey's lawful steps in the region should ring alarm bells in the White House, which has been told by policymakers that the YPG was a reliable ally in Syria,” wrote Kalin in a guest column for CNN International online.
Kalin went on to warn that “those who fail to see the PKK threat in Syria are making a historic mistake.”
“Some Western allies see this as a distraction from the fight against ISIS [Daesh] but this is not true,” wrote Kalin, using another name for Daesh.
“Eliminating all terrorist threats from Syria should be welcome as a right step to ensure peace and security and protect Syria's territorial integrity.”
Kalin stressed that Turkey’s current Operation Olive Branch -- meant to snuff out the terrorist threat in northwestern Syria -- is fully legitimate within the framework of self-defense as enshrined in Article 51 of the UN Charter.
Pointing to the contradictions in U.S. statements and policies, Kalin said the U.S. had started fighting the threat of Daesh but ended up establishing an alliance with the terrorist PYD/PKK.
Citing Turkey’s fight against Daesh as part of the international coalition, he said Turkey expects its allies to treat the PKK and its terrorist offshoots like the PYD/PKK and YPG/PKK the same way.
“It is deadly wrong to think that the PKK does not pose a threat to Western countries,” Kalin said, stressing that it was not only Turkey’s problem.
“Terrorism is terrorism and ought to be fought in a determined and consistent manner.”
The PKK -- recognized as a terrorist group by the U.S., EU, and Turkey -- has taken 40,000 lives in its 30-year terrorist campaign against Turkey.
Despite Turkey documenting how the PYD/PKK and YPG/PKK are Syrian offshoots of the PKK, the U.S. has supported the terror groups as “reliable allies” in its fight against Daesh.
On Jan. 20, Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch to clear PYD/PKK and Daesh terrorists from Afrin, northwestern Syria.
According to 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 terror targets are being destroyed and that the "utmost care" is being taken to avoid harming civilians.