News stories saying YPG/PKK terrorists in northern Syria are setting free Daesh/ISIS prisoners for money are in no way surprising but in fact typical for the terrorists, said Turkey’s foreign minister on Monday.
“There are reports that YPG/PKK terrorists were releasing imprisoned Daesh/ISIS members for money on the pretext of [Turkey’s] Operation Peace Spring. You can expect this from a terror group,” Mevlut Cavusoglu told a joint press conference with his Bissau-Guinean counterpart Suzi Carla Barbosa in Ankara, Turkey’s capital.
Turning to Sunday’s U.S. operation targeting Daesh/ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, Cavusoglu said Ankara and Washington shared information and exchanged views before the operation.
Cavusoglu told how Turkey itself has eliminated more than 4,000 Daesh/ISIS terrorists, adding that Turkey’s fight against the terror group will continue.
On Turkey’s Operation Peace Spring, an anti-terror operation which started on Oct. 9, Cavusoglu said its current pause “does not mean that Turkey will not do anything else about the remaining terrorists.”
“If there are still terrorists [in the operation area], Turkey will clear them out,” he said.
Cavusoglu pointed to the 120-hour pause deal with the U.S. which ended last week and the current 150-pause deal with Russia set to end Tuesday.
Despite the pause deals, the terror group continued its attacks, said Cavusoglu, and Turkey reserves its right to reciprocate.
Fighting Daesh/ISIS and YPG/PKK terrorists
Operation Peace Spring aims to eliminate the terrorist YPG/PKK northern Syria east of the Euphrates River in order to secure Turkey’s borders, aid in the safe return of Syrian refugees, and ensure Syria’s territorial integrity.
On Oct. 22, Ankara and Moscow reached a deal under which YPG/PKK terrorists will pull back 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) south of Turkey’s border with Syria within 150 hours, and security forces from Turkey and Russia will mount joint patrols there.
Since Turkey recognized Daesh/ISIS as a terrorist group in 2013, Turkey has been attacked by Daesh/ISIS terrorists numerous times, including 10 suicide bombings, seven bombings, and four armed attacks.
These attacks killed 315 people, including 11 police officers and two soldiers — and injured 137 civilians, 62 police officers and seven soldiers.
In response to these attacks, Turkey launched anti-terror operations at home and abroad.
Turkey has conducted three successful operations in northern Syria against the terrorist YPG/PKK and Daesh/ISIS, including Operation Euphrates Shield (2016-17), Operation Olive Branch (2018), and Operation Peace Spring. In those operations, Turkey neutralized 3,500 Daesh/ISIS terrorists and arrested 5,500.
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 the deaths of 40,000 people, including women, children and infants. The YPG is the Syrian offshoot of the PKK.
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