By Sevgi Ceren Gokkoyun
ANKARA (AA) - Operation Olive Branch would not be affecting civilian flights, Ahmet Arslan, the Turkish Minister of Transport, Maritime Affairs, and Communications, said on Monday.
"As the Turkish civil aviation sector, we are in consultation with the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK). We are acting in concert," he stated at an event in the capital Ankara.
He said all necessary measures were being taken to ensure that civilian flights would not be affected in any way.
“As long as civilian and military flights are directed to different altitudes, there is no problem. And indeed there are no civilian flights in the Syrian air space and it is not possible for civilian flights near the border to be affected by the operation,” he said, adding that the operation was taking place in order to ensure the security of Turkey’s borders, outside of its borders and that of its neighboring countries.
"Our aim is to prevent terrorist incidents that pose a threat to our future from inside and outside of our country, and in this sense, to remove the source of the terrorist incidents from those regions. Everybody knows our sensitivity regarding civilians. And today as well, everybody must know that the Turkish military and Turkish administrators are acting with utmost care in this regard."
On Saturday, Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch to remove PKK/KCK/PYD-YPG and Daesh terror groups from Afrin.
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.