By Dildar Baykan
ANKARA (AA) – Turkey’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy on Thursday responded to the French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian statement about the ongoing Turkish-led Operation Olive Branch in Syria.
His remarks came after Le Drian claimed Turkey had targeted civilians in the operation and “violated international law.”
“Our country is determined to use its legitimate right to self-defense to the furthest extent,” Aksoy said in a written statement.
“We expect our allies to take part in the fight against terrorist organizations in Afrin and not fall in a position that supports terrorist organizations with the steps they take and the words they utter,” Aksoy said.
He added, “The operation Turkey is conducting, on contrary to the claims of the French minister, is preventing the addition of a new war to the war in Syria. We expect our allies to see this fact.”
- Seven killed by PYD/PKK since Jan. 21
Over the past few years, Turkey's border provinces of Hatay and Kilis have been subject to over 700 attacks from Afrin.
Since Jan. 21 alone, rocket and mortar attacks launched by the PYD/PKK terrorist group in the Syrian enclave of Afrin have killed seven civilians and injured 113 in Hatay and Kilis.
Celik also slammed people who criticized Turkey but not the countries that provided arms to terrorist groups.
“Everyone should watch where they stand while opposing Turkey with respect to our most lawful fight against terrorism,” he urged.
On Jan. 20, Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch to remove PYD/PKK and Daesh terrorists from Syria’s northwestern Afrin region.
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 Syrians from terrorist oppression and cruelty.
The operation is being carried out under the framework of Turkey’s rights based on international law, UN Security Council resolutions, its self-defense rights under the UN charter, and respect for Syria's territorial integrity, the military said.
The military also said that only terrorist targets are being destroyed and the "utmost care" is being taken to not harm any civilians.