By Burak Karacaoglu, Levent Tok, Mohamad Misto, and Omer Koparan
TAL ABYAD, Syria (AA) – Turkish jets destroyed YPG/PKK targets 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) deep east of the Euphrates River in northern Syria as part of Operation Peace Spring.
YPG/PKK targets at the Rami Airbase and its ammunition depot near Ayn Isa district, as well as five villages, including Aluk and Tal Fender, were hit by Turkish F-16 jets.
The airstrikes also hit the terrorist elements in the city of Ras al-ayn, as well as those in the rural areas of Derik and Qamasli districts.
Meanwhile, an Anadolu Agency footage showed YPG/PKK terrorists burning tires in Ras al-ayn to block the recording of Turkish drones and the view of fighter jets.
The footage recorded black fumes covering the city sky after tires were burned.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan Wednesday chaired a coordination meeting on Operation Peace Spring.
- Terrorists target civilians
Two mortar shells were fired from YPG/PKK-occupied Ras al-ayn to Ceylanpinar district in Turkey’s border province of Sanliurfa.
No casualties were reported.
Intense aerial activity was observed at the 8th Main Jet military base in Turkey's southeastern Diyarbakir province following the attack.
Turkish fighter jets landed at the base, while others waited on the runway ready to take off.
Military cargo planes also intermittently landed at the base.
The sound of howitzers also echoed in Ceylanpinar, as smoke was rising from some districts of Ras al-Ayn, and fighter jets zip along the Syrian border.
Turkish howitzers are targeting terrorists in Tal Abyad, a town in northern Syria, as part of the anti-terror operation.
Meanwhile, the YPG/PKK in Qamishli, northern Syria, fired six rockets targeting civilians in Nusaybin district of Mardin near the Turkey-Syria border.
People who took to the streets in Akcakale, Sanliurfa to support Turkish soldiers, were urged to stay indoors amid howitzer fires launched by the YPG/PKK terrorists in Tal Abyad.
Following the cross-border fires, Turkish troops deployed in the town started to move towards the border zone.
The aerial activity has also intensified in the 10th Tanker Base Command of Incirlik air base in Adana, southern Turkey, as part of the operation.
- Operation Peace Spring
Turkey has launched Operation Peace Spring east of the Euphrates River in northern Syria to secure its borders by eliminating terrorist elements to ensure the safe return of Syrian refugees and Syria’s territorial integrity.
Turkey has said the terrorist group PKK and its extension the YPG/PYD constitute the biggest threat to Syria’s future, jeopardizing the country’s territorial integrity and unitary structure.
Ankara has also stressed that supporting terrorists under the pretext of fighting Daesh is unacceptable.
Turkey has a 911-km (566-mi) border with Syria and it has long decried the threat from terrorists east of the Euphrates and the formation of a “terrorist corridor” there.
Turkey plans to resettle 2 million Syrians in a 30-km-wide (19-mi) safe zone to be set up in Syria, stretching from the Euphrates River to the Iraqi border, including Manbij. However, the presence of terror groups such as the PKK, PYD, and YPG risk its formation.
Turkey has rid an area of 4,000 square km (1,544 square miles) in Syria of terrorist groups in two separate cross-border operations. Since 2016, Turkey has conducted two major military operations in northwestern Syria -- Operation Euphrates Shield and Olive Branch -- to purge the region of the terrorist groups Daesh and the YPG, which is the Syrian branch of the terrorist group PKK.
The two operations were in line with the country’s right to self-defense borne out of international law, UN Security Council resolutions, especially no. 1624 (2005), 2170 (2014) and 2178 (2014), and under the right to self-defense under Article 51 of the UN Charter, while being respectful of Syria’s territorial integrity.
During Operation Euphrates Shield, Turkish forces neutralized 3,060 Daesh terrorists. Turkey has suffered greatly from Daesh attacks inside the country. More than 300 people have been killed in attacks claimed by Daesh in Turkey, where the terrorist group has targeted civilians in suicide bombings and armed attacks in recent years.
In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK – listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU -- has been responsible for the deaths of some 40,000 people, including women, children, and infants.
*Hasan Namli in Diyarbakir and Kerem Kocalar in Sanliurfa contributed to this report