By Hamdi Yildiz
ISTANBUL (AA) – More than 100 Arab intellectuals, politicians and academics signed a declaration Friday supporting Turkey’s military operation in northeastern Syria.
Members of the Forum of Thought and Strategic Studies came together in Istanbul to sign the document.
The forum also urged the UN to support Operation Peace Spring.
The signatories included former Iraqi Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi, former Tunisian Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali and former Syrian Agriculture Minister Asaad Moustafa.
The operation is aimed at establishing a safe zone to ensure the safe return of Syrians in Turkey to their country, the statement said.
All developments in Syria have revealed that only Turkey can ensure the country’s security and stability as happened in two major military operations in northwestern Syria -- Operation Euphrates Shield and Operation Olive Branch, it noted, saying for this reason, "we call for the support of Turkey's sincere efforts."
Turkey launched Operation Peace Spring on Wednesday to eliminate terrorists from northern Syria in order to secure Turkey’s borders, aid in the safe return of Syrian refugees and ensure Syria’s territorial integrity.
Ankara wants to clear northern Syria east of the Euphrates River of the terrorist PKK and its Syrian offshoot, the PYD/YPG.
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.