By Muslum Etgu
SANLIURFA, Turkey (AA) - A group representing Syria’s ethnic Turkmen and Arabs has expressed its full support for the Turkish army’s current operation in Afrin, Syria.
“We offer our endless thanks to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish people and state, as well as its heroic soldiers for standing beside the oppressed Syrian people,” said a statement on Monday by the Ethnic Syrian Turkmen and Arab Tribes Union.
“Kurdish brothers” not involved in clashes in the region should pay no mind to provocations claiming "the operation is against Kurds" or is meant to "occupy Syrian lands,” said the statement.
Turkish leaders have stressed that the operation is aimed against terrorists, not Kurds, and that Turkey has no designs on Syrian territory, but will end the operation once its goals are reached.
On Saturday, Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch to remove PYD/PKK and Daesh terrorists from Afrin, northwestern Syria, on Turkey’s border.
According to the Turkish General Staff, the operation aims to establish security and stability along Turkish borders and the region as well as to protect the Syrian people from the oppression and cruelty of terrorists.
The operation is being carried out under the framework of Turkey’s rights based on international law, UN Security Council resolutions, and its right to self-defense under the UN charter and respect for Syria's territorial integrity, it said.
The military also said "utmost importance" is being placed on not harming any civilians.
Afrin has been a major hideout for the PYD/PKK since July 2012 when the Assad regime in Syria left the city to the terror group without putting up a fight.