Afrin to be handed over to its real owners after Op Olive Branch: FM Çavuşoğlu

DAILY SABAH WITH ANADOLU AGENCY
ISTANBUL
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Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said Friday the Afrin region in northwestern Syria would be handed over to Syrians once it was cleared from terrorists through Operation Olive Branch.

"After clearing them [terrorists], we will hand the region over to its real owners; namely, we will hand it over to Syrians," Çavuşoğlu said at an event in southern Antalya.

Çavuşoğlu also slammed the U.S. over its "double-faced" actions, providing arms to PYD/PKK terrorists and expressing concern for civilians as well as the length of the operation. "Do not be double-faced, be honest," he said, added that it is not possible to find a political solution with terrorist groups.

"From wherever terror threat comes, from Afrin [Syria], Sinjar [Iraq], Qandil [Iraq], Manbij [Syria] or Euphrates River's east, we will intervene and destroy it," the foreign minister said.

He stated that Turkey is the most sensitive country when it comes to civilians, refugees and their rights.

"We host 3.5 million Syrians and Iraqis in our country. We never said 'it is enough now'," he said and noted that the U.S. does not even contribute to Turkey's spending on humanitarian issues but it still reminds them of the issues.

Operation Olive Branch was launched Saturday, targeting the PKK terror group's Syrian affiliates the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its armed wing the People's Protection Units (YPG) supported by the United States, as well as the remaining Daesh elements in Afrin region on the Turkish-Syrian border.

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

On Saturday, 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 to protect the Syrian people from the oppression and cruelty of terrorists.

The operation is being carried out under the framework of Turkey's rights within international law, U.N. Security Council resolutions, its right to self-defense under the U.N. charter and respect for Syria's territorial integrity, it said.

Afrin has been a major hideout for the YPG/PKK since July 2012 when the Assad regime in Syria left the city to the terror group without putting up a fight.

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