Turkish ambassador to The Gambia has defended the military action along the
Syria’s Afrin Region, saying the fight against the Kurdish People’s Protection
Units (YPG) militia and its political wing – the Democratic Union Party (PYD)
is designed to nueutralise the threat posed by these terrorist elements.
Ambassador Ismail Sefa Yuceer, who was speaking in an exclusive interview with The Point, made it clear that Ankara has no wish to take territory from another country, and that control of Afrin Region will be handed over to the Syrian regime at the end of the operation.
The military action dubbed Operation Olive Branch is to establish stability along Turkey’s border with Syria and to remove not only the YPG/PYD, regarded by Ankara as an offshoot of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has been conducting terrorist attacks on the civilian and military targets in Turkey for more than three decades, but also Islamic State fighters alias Daesh from the area.
“Operation Olive Branch started on January 20. As you may be aware, Syria has a problem for the last seven years and on the other side terrorists made a sanctuary in different parts of Syria like the Daesh on one side and Kurdistan Workers’ Party, (PKK), Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) and Democratic Union Party (PYD) on the other side. These are the main terrorist elements in Syria”.
Ambassador Yuceer acknowledged that due to the power vacuum in Syria, these terrorist groups had the freedom to operate in the region, because the central government is faced with other issues.
He maintained that these terrorist elements have their grounds in the Syria territories, affirming that the position of Turkey since the onset is to safeguard the territorial integrity of Syria.
“This was our main concern because we believe that the territorial integrity of Syria should be kept intact. This was our starting point with the Syrian policy.”
The Turkish-Banjul diplomacy chief noted that these terrorist elements should be wiped out from these border territories because they are not only killing innocent people in Syria, but also displacements of civilians.
According to him, the population in some part of Syria is forced to leave their settlements.
“This displaced population movement in Syria has brought some problems for Turkey, because at the moment we are hosting more than 3 million displaced people.”
These refugees, Ambassador Yuceer noted, are forced to leave Syria for many reasons among them, the repressive regime of Assad.
He indicated that the problem is a Syrian problem but Turkey is the country most affected, pointing out that Turkey is spending more than 30 billion dollars from education, health and other basic necessities.
The Turkish diplomat revealed that these terrorist elements are in control of 30% of Syrian territories.
On the diplomatic front, despite U.S. concerns, the international community has so far been supportive of the operation as it is meant to wipe out terrorist elements in the Afrin region, thus guaranteeing Syria’s territorial integrity.