Pakistani security and political experts said Turkey’s counter-terrorism operation in northern Syria would ensure durable regional peace and security.
“Turkey’s operation to secure its borders is justified. Like any other sovereign country, Ankara is within its right to secure its people and borders,” Ikram Sehgal, a Karachi-based defense and security analyst, told Anadolu Agency.
“No sovereign country can allow terrorists to operate on its borders, and pose a permanent threat to its security,” he said.
Turkey launched Operation Peace Spring on Oct. 9 to eliminate terrorists from northern Syria in order to secure Turkey’s borders, aid in the safe return of Syrian refugees, and ensure Syria’s territorial integrity.
Ankara wants to clear northern Syria east of the Euphrates River of the terrorist PKK and its Syrian offshoot, the PYD/YPG.
Turkey has said the PKK terrorist group and its extension the YPG/PYD constitute the biggest threat to Syria’s future, jeopardizing the country’s territorial integrity and unitary structure.
Ankara has also stressed that supporting terrorists under the pretext of fighting Daesh is unacceptable.
In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK — listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S., and the European Union — has been responsible for deaths of 40,000 people, including women, children, and infants.
Terming the refugee influx into Turkey and subsequently to Europe due to terrorists’ presence in broad swathes of northern Syria, Sehgal said that a successful operation in the region would pave the way for safe and early repatriation of over 1.5 million refugees to their homes.
“It [elimination of terrorists] will ultimately benefit the whole region, including Syria, Turkey and Europe,” he added.
Hailing President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s assurance that the territorial sovereignty of Syria will be fully respected, Sehgal said he hoped that the Operation Peace Spring would be culminated as soon as possible achieving the desired results.
Retired Brig. Said Nazir Mohammad, an Islamabad-based defense analyst, voiced a similar view.
“Turkey is facing the brunt of refugees as the EU is not accepting them,” Nazir noted adding that Ankara has been facing a threat from PKK, that’s why it wants to create a safe zone along with its border to ensure the safe return of refugees.
The safe zone near Turkey border, he said, was actually created by the UN, but was being challenged by Daesh, Syrian Army, al-Qaeda affiliates and a moderate Kurd opposition.
“Since YPG is a terrorist outfit and being supported by the U.S and Israel, Turkey is worried of the Balkanization of Syria with a Kurd state to be carved out along eastern and southeastern borders,” he said suggesting that Pakistan should operate in a gray area of diplomacy and for a peaceful settlement with an aim to respect the territorial integrity of all states.
“The Turkish operation blatantly exposes U.S. hypocrisy where it was allied with the YPG,” said Arhama Siddiqa, a research fellow covering the Middle East at Islamabad-based Institute of Strategic Studies.
She added that the Turkish Operation Peace Spring exposed the ”faultiness between President [Donald] Trump and Pentagon where they keep contradicting each other.”
“We saw this in the Qatar-Gulf crisis as well,” she said.
Syed Fakhar Kakakhel, another Islamabad-based political analyst, said: ”It is obvious that Turkey is the one, which is close to the war theater and the most affected by terror attacks.”
“Turkey knows much better than the rest of the world how to deal with Syrian crisis,” Kakakhel told Anadolu Agency adding that Pakistan itself has faced the brunt of Afghan war for decades.
In that perspective, he said, Ankara had every right to move for its own and the region’s security and stability.
- Riyaz ul Khaliq contributed to this report from Ankara
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