Turkey will destroy Daesh no matter what

THE EDITORIAL BOARD
ISTANBUL
Published 24.12.2016 00:00

Operation Euphrates Shield in northern Syria against Daesh is aimed at removing a threat to both Turkey and the rest of the world. As the country that paid the highest human and financial price as a result of this despicable terrorist group's actions, it is natural to expect support from its closest allies.

Daesh feeds on carnage, documents its atrocities to wage psychological warfare and aims to turn public opinion against governments it deems enemies. The footage released on Friday, claimed to depict the murders of two Turkish soldiers, was meant to thwart Turkey's successful offensives.

If that was the aim, the group will soon be very disappointed. The terrorist group's latest attempt to capture the world's attention was met with principled resistance in Turkey. In the hours following the video's release, social media users expressed their frustration, while urging everyone to refrain from spreading the images.The government was aware of the risks involved when it launched the military operation, but could not stand by as the threat to Turkey's security went unchallenged. The government has a public mandate to annihilate the terror group and needs to do so.

Opposition leaders also took a principled stand, condemning the atrocity while voicing their support for the anti-Daesh offensive in Syria. The government, opposition and the nation as a whole grieves for every soldier lost, but is aware that the fight against the Daesh is a matter of utmost importance.

Outside observers may have jumped to conclusions about the fragility of Turkey's post-coup unity, but we ultimately stood the test of barbarism.

Since the launch of Operation Euphrates Shield on Aug. 24 this year, in cooperation with the Free Syrian Army (FSA), large tracks of northern Syria have been liberated from Daesh terror, freeing hundreds of thousands from bondage. Many more Syrians are slowly making their way to the zone liberated by Turkey, the only place they can feel safe in the most dangerous country on earth.

The FSA and the Turkish military are currently closing in on al-Bab, a major Daesh stronghold in northern Syria. In recent weeks, Turkish leaders have pledged to continue the mission until all national security threats are neutralized, including the threat posed by the People's Protection Units (YPG), the PKK's Syrian franchise.

While paying lip service to the importance of Turkey's direct involvement in the anti-Daesh campaign, Western officials are actually uncomfortable with the success of Euphrates Shield. It is important to also note that the much-glorified coalition airstrikes against Daesh targets have suddenly come to a halt since the Turkey-FSA military offensive made significant advances against the Daesh.

Over the past three months, the Turkish-backed FSA proved extremely successful and effectively raised questions about Washington's counter-terrorism strategy in Syria, which basically outsourced the job to local mercenaries, including members of the PKK's Syrian wing, who are known to have trained several suicide bombers that have killed Turkish citizens since 2015.

Then there are people, at home and abroad, who question Turkey's motives in northern Syria. Turkey's position has always been clear: As part of a new security concept, the Turkish government deployed troops to nearby areas where terrorists have planned attacks against Turkey.

If Daesh terrorists believe that the Turks will have second thoughts about the campaign to liberate al-Bab and northern Syria, they should think again.

Turkey cannot afford to tolerate western procrastination while its civilians and soldiers die and will take all the necessary precautions to protect its citizens and interests while cooperating with regional countries, like Russia, Iran and Saudi Arabia, to destroy Daesh and put an end to the chaos in Syria.

There should be no doubt that history will take note of the U.S. and EU governments standing on the sidelines, sabotaging rather than helping, while Turkey takes on the most monstrous group of our age.

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter