Main opposition leader calls on gov't to contact Assad

Kemal Kilicdaroglu says supporting territorial integrity of Syria is joint aim of Turkey and Assad regime

By Muhammet Emin Avundukluoglu

Turkish main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) leader called on the government to contact the Assad regime.

Speaking to CHP lawmakers in the parliament on Tuesday, Kemal Kilicdaroglu said: "If you want to lay the foundations of peace in Syria, if you want to have the right to comment on Syria in real terms, if you want to be a real actor in Syria, you should contact Assad."

Kilicdaroglu said Turkey was defending the territorial integrity of Syria. “But so are they” he said, meaning the Assad regime.

He called on Erdogan to assign his party’s executives to contact the Assad regime for a joint fight against terrorism.

"You should tell them: 'Let's clear all terrorist organizations, Al Nusra, Daesh, PKK, PYD. This will be in our as well as their interest."

- Operation Olive Branch

Turkey, with the support of the Free Syrian Army (FSA), launched Operation Olive Branch on Jan. 20 with the stated aim of clearing PYD/PKK and Daesh terrorists from Syria’s northwestern city of Afrin.

Since the operation began, the PYD/PKK has carried out several cross-border attacks on Turkey, firing rockets into residential neighborhoods.

According to the Turkish General Staff, the ongoing operation aims to secure northern Syria’s border region with Turkey and protect the civilian population from PYD/PKK terrorists.

The operation is being carried out in line with international law; past UN Security Council resolutions; the right to self-defense as enshrined in the UN charter; and respect for Syria's territorial integrity.

The Turkish military has stressed that only terrorist sites and positions are being targeted while the "utmost importance" has been attached to avoiding civilian casualties.

Afrin has been a stronghold for the PYD/PKK since mid-2012, when Syrian regime forces withdrew from the area allowing the terrorist group to fill the vacuum.

Late last month, the PYD/PKK terrorist group organized several demonstrations under the banner of “Solidarity with Afrin”, in which civil servants and students were forced to participate, while shops in the area were forced to temporarily close their doors.

On Jan. 21, the Assad regime allowed PYD/PKK terrorists in Aleppo to use regime-held roads to send arms deliveries to Afrin.

Syria has been locked in a devastating civil war since March 2011, when the Bashar al-Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests with unexpected ferocity.

While UN officials say hundreds of thousands of people have been killed in the conflict, Syrian regime officials say the death toll is closer to 10,000.

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