Turkey's Armenian Patriarchate expressed its full support for the Turkish military's anti-terror operation in northeastern Syria, saying they were praying that peace and safety will be established as soon as possible in the area.
"We pray that Operation Peace Spring, which aims to end terrorism and ensure the security of the borders, will continue in accordance with its purpose and establish peace and security as soon as possible," said Archbishop Sahak Masalyan, head of the Armenian Patriarchate of Turkey's Spiritual Council, in a statement Friday.
Stating that as the Armenian community they always underscore the importance of people living a prosperous life in an environment of peace, Masalyan said the ongoing wars and chaos in the Middle East, especially in Syria, worried them deeply as well.
"Unfortunately peace is not always ensured through peaceful means... May God protect our country and our people from disasters with His merciful power," he added.
He also said elections for the new patriarch would be held on December 11. The Armenian Church in Turkey has been ruled by a deputy Patriarch since 2008. The former patriarch Mesrob Mutafyan died on March 8 in Istanbul after years of battling dementia.
Turkey launched Operation Peace Spring, the third in a series of cross-border anti-terror operations in northern Syria targeting terrorists affiliated with Daesh and the PKK's Syrian offshoot the People's Protection Units (YPG), on October 9 at 4 p.m.
The operation, conducted in line with the country's right to self-defense borne out of international law and U.N. Security Council resolutions, aims to establish a terror-free safe zone for Syrians return in the area east of the Euphrates River controlled by the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which is dominated by YPG terrorists.
The PKK — listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the European Union — has waged a terror campaign against Turkey for more than 30 years, resulting in the deaths of nearly 40,000 people, including women, children and infants.
Turkey has long decried the threat from terrorists east of the Euphrates in northern Syria, pledging military action to prevent the formation of a "terrorist corridor" there.Since 2016, Turkey's Euphrates Shield and Olive Branch operations, launched in August 2016 and January 2018, respectively, have liberated northwestern Syria from YPG/PKK and Daesh terrorists, making it possible for nearly 400,000 Syrians who fled the violence to return home.