Assad regime protecting YPG terrorists won't stop Turkey's Afrin op, FM Çavuşoğlu says

DAILY SABAH
ISTANBUL
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Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, speaks during a news conference with his Jordanian counterpart Ayman Safadi in Amman, Jordan, Feb. 19, 2018. (Reuters Photo)
Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, speaks during a news conference with his Jordanian counterpart Ayman Safadi in Amman, Jordan, Feb. 19, 2018. (Reuters Photo)

Assad regime's protection of the PKK-linked People's Protection Units (YPG) terrorists will not halt Turkey's Operation Olive Branch in northwestern Syria's Afrin, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said Monday.

Speaking at a joint news conference with his Jordanian counterpart Ayman Safadi in Amman, Çavuşoğlu stressed that the operation's aim is to clear terrorists from Afrin.

"It's important what the regime will do when it enters [Afrin]. If the regime plans to enter to fight PKK/YPG, then no problem. But if the regime enters to protect the YPG, then no one can stop Turkish forces," the foreign minister said when asked to comment on reports of an agreement between the Assad regime and the YPG regarding Afrin.

Çavuşoğlu added that Turkey has always emphasized the importance of preserving Syria's territorial integrity.

A senior YPG member on Sunday told Reuters that the terror group and the government of Bashar al-Assad have agreed for the regime army to enter Syria's Afrin to fight together against Turkish forces.

On Monday, Syrian state TV said the regime forces will enter Afrin "within hours."

On Jan. 20, Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch targeting PKK terror group's Syrian affiliates the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its armed wing the YPG as well as remaining Daesh elements in Afrin.

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