By Sorwar Alam
ANKARA (AA) - Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag said on Saturday the military operation in Syria’s northern Afrin region respects Syria’s “territorial integrity and sovereignty”.
“[Turkey] will comply with these basic principles during the operation and will separate from the region after achieving the target of the operation successfully,” Bozdag said on twitter.
He noted that Turkey’s military campaign was not against the Syrian government, its people or Turkmens, Arabs or Kurds living in the region, but against the Daesh, PKK, PYD and other terrorist organizations.
“The only target of the operation is the terrorist groups and the terrorists as well as their barracks, shelters, positions, weapons, vehicles and equipment. Civilians are never targeted. Every kind of planning has been done to avoid any damage to civilians and every necessary measure is taken [to ensure this],” he added.
Earlier, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced the launch of Afrin operation against the terrorist groups.
The Turkish General staff also announced that the "Operation Olive Branch" has been started on Jan. 20, 2018 at 5 p.m. "to establish security and stability on our borders and region, to eliminate terrorists of PKK/KCK/PYD-YPG and Daesh, and to save our friends and brothers… from their [the terrorists’] oppression and cruelty."
“The operation is being conducted under the framework of Turkey’s rights based on international law, UN Security Council’s decisions especially no. 1624 (2005), 2170 (2014) and 2178 (2014) and as per the self-defense right under 51th item of UN charter, while being respectful to Syria’s territorial integrity," said the military.
The statement said the operation will also take sensitivity into account and no civilian/innocent person would be harmed.