UPDATES WITH ANOTHER ROCKET ATTACK, REMARKS FROM DEPUTY PM
By Izzet Mazi and Ridvan Korkulutas
KILIS, Turkey (AA) - At least three civilians, including a child, were injured when rockets fired by PYD/PKK terrorists from Syria's Afrin region struck buildings in the Turkish border provinces of Kilis and Hatay on Saturday, local sources said.
Since the beginning of the Operation Olive Branch in northwestern Afrin region of Syria on Jan. 20, the PYD/PKK launched rocket attacks targeting the residential areas in southern provinces of Turkey, killing at least three civilians and injuring 50 others.
One of the rockets hit the roof of a five-story building in the neighborhood of 7 Aralik at around 3.00 p.m. (1200GMT), the sources said on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on speaking to the media.
Ambulances and security forces were sent to the scene, and the injured were taken to Kilis State Hospital.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency in front of the building struck by PYD/PKK, Deputy Prime Minister Hakan Cavusoglu reiterated that the operation is primarily aimed to provide national and border security.
Cavusoglu also urged the U.S. to take back the arms it provided to the terrorist organization.
The U.S. supports the PYD/PKK, considered by Ankara as the Syrian offshoot of the PKK terror organization that has waged a more than 30-year war against the Turkish state. The terror campaign has resulted in tens of thousands of deaths, including those of women and children.
The U.S. support for the terror group has long vexed Ankara as Washington views the PYD/PKK-led umbrella group, SDF, as a "reliable partner" in its fight against Daesh and continues to provide it with arms and equipment in the face of strong objections from Turkey.
Later, another rocket hit a three-story building in Reyhanli district of Turkey’s Hatay province, injuring a child.
Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch on Jan. 20 to clear PYD/PKK and Daesh terrorists from Afrin, northwestern Syria.
According to the military, the operation aims to establish security and stability along Turkish borders and the region as well as 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, it said.
The military has also said that only terrorist targets are being destroyed and "utmost importance" is being put 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.
* Erdal Turkoglu in Hatay contributed to this story.