By Esber Ayaydin, Salih Bilici and Sema Kaplan
DIYARBAKIR/SANLIURFA, Turkey (AA) - At least 16 civilians were injured as rockets and mortar shells fired by YPG/PKK terrorists in Syria hit Turkish border towns.
Rocket and mortars fired from YPG/PKK-occupied regions in Syria hit Akcakale, Birecik and Ceylanpinar towns of Sanliurfa as well as Nusaybin town of Mardin in southeastern Turkey.
Among the injured were two teenaged siblings, whose house in Ceylanpinar were hit by anti-aircraft missiles fired from Ras-al Ayn in Syria. The two were shifted to Ceylanpinar State Hospital.
In Ceylanpinar, four more civilians were injured and immediately taken under treatment.
Moreover, a mortar shell hit the Birecik town of Sanliurfa province, injuring 2 people -- including a child.
YPG/PKK terrorists also hit Akcakale with three mortar shells, injuring 3 people.
Five people were severely injured in rocket attacks in Nusaybin.
Schools in the region were suspended due to the operation in border towns, as municipality workers advised locals to stay away from border lines.
Turkey on Wednesday launched Operation Peace Spring east of the Euphrates River in northern Syria, to secure its borders and Syria’s territorial integrity, by eliminating terrorist elements and to ensure the safe return of Syrian refugees.
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-kilometer (566-miles) border with Syria and it has long decried the threat from terrorists east of the Euphrates River and the formation of a “terrorist corridor” there.
Turkey plans to resettle two million Syrians in a 30-km-wide (19-miles) proposed safe zone 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 freed an area of 4,000 square km (1,544 square miles) in Syria from 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 eradicate threats from the 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 of 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.