Success in Afrin op termed excellent example for world

- Turkish retired major general hopes Turkey, US strike balance to eliminate terrorists from region

By Safvan Allahverdi

WASHINGTON (AA) - Turkey's Afrin operation, in terms of success achieved, is an excellent example for the world, Turkish retired Maj. Gen. Ahmet Bertan Nogaylaroglu said.

Nogaylaroglu was speaking at a Washington-based think tank, Turkish Heritage Organization.

On Jan. 20, Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch to remove PYD/PKK and Daesh terrorists from Afrin.

According to the Turkish General Staff, the operation aims to establish security and stability along Turkish borders and the region as well as protect Syrians from the oppression and cruelty of terrorists.

The former general also said using weapons, which were recently developed by the national defense industry, has played a great role in the success of the operation.

During his 36-year service at the Turkish Air Force, Nogaylaroglu said he had never thought that he would see the Turkish-built military equipment.

Describing the collaboration with the Free Syrian Army (FSA) in the Afrin operation as "necessity", he stated the FSA members are locals and well aware of the region.

Speaking about preventing the civilian casualties, the former serviceman said the Turkish military has given the "utmost attention” to make sure that the civilians are not harmed while fighting terrorism.

In response to a query about the importance of extending the operation to Manbij, he noted that the city is of vital importance in order to eliminate terror groups, which are located in the western part of the Euphrates River where the U.S. forces are also located.

"I hope, both Turkey and America strike a balance and clean the region from terrorists without hurting each other," the Turkish general said.

The U.S. has supported 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.

American 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 by Turkey.

The PYD/PKK is the Syrian offshoot of the PKK, which has been designated a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU.

Since the mid-1980s, the PKK has waged a wide-ranging terror campaign against the Turkish state in which an estimated 40,000 people have been killed.

(AA)

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