By Nilay Kar Onum
ISTANBUL (AA) - Turkey is "determined" to carry on the Operation Peace Spring in northern Syria to clear the YPG/PKK terrorists of its border and ensure the safe return of Syrian refugees, the senior presidential advisor has said.
In an interview with Fox News Channel on Sunday, Gulnur Aybet responded to the claims that Turkish forces attacked U.S. soldiers during the country's ongoing anti-terror operation and the misinformation about the operation.
"We are very determined [in carrying on the operation] because we have two objectives. One is to clear our border from this terrorist group -- the YPG, which is equivalent to the PKK -- which is a terrorist organization as recognized by the U.S. and the EU".
"The second objective is actually to ensure the return of about one to two million Syrian refugees. We are already hosting 4 million of them in our country," she added.
Stating that YPG "grabbed a lot of land northeast of Syria unfortunately after the U.S. policy to arm them", she said that arming a terrorist group to fight another was a very "ill-conceived" policy.
"We’re very disappointed that you’re still working with the YPG outside the zone of our operation. We think that you should stop [this policy]," Aybet said.
"They [Daesh] were allowed to grow under the watch of the YPG, who actually allowed thousands of them to escape from Raqqa," she continued.
"We didn’t do Raqqa unfortunately. We asked the Americans to do with us but they didn’t. They chose to do it with a terrorist group. I think the American public has a right to know that, don’t you think so?" the presidential advisor said.
U.S. President Donald Trump was "right to want to bring home the U.S. troops because it's unfair that they’re hostage to this very ill-begotten policy inherited from the previous admin, arming one terrorist group, the YPG, to fight another," Aybet said.
In response to the claims that Turkish forces attacked U.S. soldiers in northern Syria, she said: "We did not fire at American soldiers. That was a lie that was spun by the YPG. We were returning fire to terrorists firing at us from that region."
"We were careful not to fire on the American observation posts there," the advisor added.
Turkey on Oct. 9 launched Operation Peace Spring 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.