World Bulletin / News Desk
“The terrorist organization [PKK] is trying to manipulate this issue. A certain part of people believe in these [manipulations], however, everybody knows our sensitivity about it,” Akar told reporters after the opening ceremony of the defense exhibition DIMDEX 2018 in the Qatari capital Doha.
He said the main focus of the operation was to provide peace and security along Turkey’s border and to clear the region of all terrorists including PKK/KCK/PYD-YPG and ISIL.
Akar said the Turkish Army was also treating historical and religious sites and buildings as well as public facilities with the utmost care.
Nearly 60 terrorists were captured since the beginning of the Operation Olive Branch and those who were injured received medical care, Akar said.
“This issue is important as it shows Turkish Armed Forces’ sensitivity,” he said.
Akar also said the Turkish Army was providing humanitarian aid in coordination with the Turkish Red Crescent and Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) in the areas cleared of terrorists.
“We are providing our Syrian brothers [with the opportunity] to be able to return to their homes. Our main purpose is to ensure peace and security in the region and clear the region of PKK/PYD/YPG. We are cleaning the region of not only PKK, but also ISIL.
"ISIL terrorists are changing their uniforms and joining PKK,” he said.
On Jan. 20, Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch to remove PYD/PKK and ISIL terrorists from Afrin. The operation aims to establish security and stability along Turkish borders and the region as well as to protect the Syrian people from the oppression and cruelty of terrorists, stated the Turkish General Staff.
The operation is being carried out under the framework of Turkey’s rights based on international law, UN Security Council’s decisions, self-defense rights under the UN charter and respect for Syria's territorial integrity, it said.
The military has also said that only terrorist targets are being destroyed and "utmost importance" is being given to not harm any civilians.
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.