By Mohammad Sheikh Yousef
ISTANBUL (AA) – Scores of Syrians staged a rally in Istanbul on Friday in support of Turkey’s Operation Peace Spring against the terrorist YPG/PKK group in northern Syria.
Flying Turkish and Syrian flags, the participants waved banners calling for the expulsion of terrorist and secessionist groups from northern Syria.
“The rally reflects that the free Syrians stand by Operation Peace Spring for eliminating terrorist groups,” Syrian astronaut Mohamed Fares told Anadolu Agency.
“The Turkish government and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan have underlined the integrity of the Syrian territory and we hope that this positive move would result in liberating the rest of the Syrian territory from all occupiers,” he said.
Moataz Shaqlab, head of the Syrian Revolution Association, said the rally aimed to show support for the Turkish Army and the Syrian National Army.
“Operation Peace Spring seeks to restore peace to a region occupied by a terrorist group that works to divide Syria,” he said.
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.
* Ahmed Asmar contributed to this report from Ankara