Claims accusing Turkey of using chemical weapons in Syria are nothing but a disinformation campaign carried out by terrorist groups, spokesperson for the Turkish Foreign Ministry said Friday, underlining that the claims were not confirmed by the United Nations (U.N.) watchdog for chemical weapons. Hami Aksoy said Ankara completely denies the allegations that the Turkish military used chemical weapons during Operation Peace Spring, a counterterrorism operation recently-launched to clear Daesh and PKK-linked terrorists in northeastern Syria. Aksoy noted that there are no chemical weapons in the Turkish Armed Forces’ inventory and the country has been a party to “the convention on the prohibition of the development, production, stockpiling and use of chemical weapons and on their destruction” since 1997.
Aksoy added that the U.N.’s Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has also stated that the organization has not confirmed the validity of any of the allegations. The PKK sympathizers have been carrying out a massive defamation campaign against Turkey since the country launched its third counterterrorism operation in northeastern Syria, targeting the PKK’s Syrian affiliate, the People’s Protection Units (YPG) and Daesh terrorists. The terror group-related accounts have been sharing fake images to accuse Turkey of attacking civilians and most recently have published the pictures of chemical weapon attacks which were taken in different places long before Turkey launched the operation.
Meanwhile, Ankara has pledged financial support to the OPCW for its new center of chemistry and technology. Turkey provided €30,000 ($33,000) for the project to transform the laboratory of the OPCW to a center of chemistry and technology. Turkey's Ambassador Saban Dişli and OPCW General Director Fernando Arias participated in a ceremony held on Thursday in the watchdog's headquarters in The Hague in the Netherlands. Dişli said that this financial support proves Turkey's commitment to the Chemical Weapons Convention. Arias thanked Turkey, saying that the project is planned to be completed by 2022. A total of 21 countries and the EU have contributed to the project until now. The OPCW, an implementing body for the Chemical Weapons Convention, with its 193 member states, oversees the global endeavor to permanently eliminate chemical weapons. 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 YPG, on Oct. 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 in northwestern Syria have liberated the region from YPG/PKK and Daesh terrorists, making it possible for nearly 400,000 Syrians who fled the violence to return home.