SANLIURFA, Turkey (AA) - Turkey's operation east of Euphrates in northern Syria cherishes hopes for Syrian refugees to return to their homes after they were forcibly dislocated by terrorist YPG/PKK since the conflict started in 2011.
Syrians living in Turkey’s southeastern Sanliurfa province are looking forward to the arrangements for the operation, as they want to return to home located just across the border.
Ahmet Halaf, a refugee in Sanliurfa, told Anadolu Agency that he left Syria five years ago with 10 members of his family and settled in Turkey.
"My house is just across the border," Halaf said, and added: "YPG/PKK came and took my house and land. A so-called senior terrorist of YPG/PKK confiscated my house".
"Whether the terrorists want it or not, Turkish army launches the operation in Syria and we will return to our homes," he added.
Abdullah Haciman, another refugee living in Turkey with his family, said their home, workplaces and lands were confiscated by YPG/PKK terrorist organization.
"We want Turkey to start operation as soon as possible and return to our homes freely," Haciman added before the launch of Turkey's operation.
Turkey announced on Wednesday the launch of Operation Peace Spring east of the Euphrates River in northern Syria to secure its borders by eliminating terrorist elements to ensure the safe return of Syrian refugees and Syria’s territorial integrity.
Turkey has said the terrorist group PKK and its extension the YPG/PYD constitute the biggest threat to Syria’s future, jeopardizing the country’s territorial integrity and unitary structure.
Turkey has also stressed that supporting terrorists under the pretext of fighting Daesh is unacceptable.
Turkey has a 911-kilometer (566-mile) border with Syria and it has long decried the threat from terrorists east of the Euphrates and the formation of a “terrorist corridor” there.
Turkey plans to resettle two million Syrians in a 30-km-wide (19-mi) safe zone to be set up in Syria, stretching from the Euphrates River to the Iraqi border, including Manbij. However, the presence of terror groups such as the PKK, PYD, and YPG risk its formation.
Turkey has rid an area of 4,000 square km (1,544 square miles) in Syria of terrorist groups in two separate cross-border operations. Since 2016, Turkey has conducted two major military operations in northwestern Syria -- Operation Euphrates Shield and Olive Branch -- to purge the region of the terrorist groups Daesh and the YPG, which is the Syrian branch of the terrorist group PKK.
The two operations were in line with the country’s right to self-defense borne out of international law, UN Security Council resolutions, especially no. 1624 (2005), 2170 (2014) and 2178 (2014), and under the right to self-defense under Article 51 of the UN Charter, while being respectful of Syria’s territorial integrity.
During Operation Euphrates Shield, Turkish forces neutralized 3,060 Daesh terrorists. Turkey has suffered greatly from Daesh attacks inside the country. More than 300 people have been killed in attacks claimed by Daesh in Turkey, where the terrorist group has targeted civilians in suicide bombings and armed attacks in recent years.
In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK -- listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU -- has been responsible for the deaths of some 40,000 people, including women, children, and infants.
* Writing by Erdogan Cagatay Zontur