Syrians return back to areas after security measures

ANKARA

Turkey’s military sources on Friday announced that Syrians who hear of the comprehensive security measures taken in Tal Abyad and Ras al-Ayn are returning back to the area. 

The Turkish National Defense Ministry stated that improvised explosive plant of YPG/PKK terror group was destroyed and 1 ton of ammonium nitrate was seized in Tal Abyad. 

Turkey launched an anti-terror operation, 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 YPG/PKK terrorists to withdraw from the region so that a safe zone can be created to repatriate some 2 million refugees.

“Over 400 mines and improvised explosives and a bomb-laden vehicle were destroyed during Turkey’s anti-terror operation in Syria,” the ministry said.

A joint patrol of Turkey and Russia took place in northern Syria at 40 kilometers (25 miles) east of Ras al-Ayn and 30 km (18.6 mi) west of Qamishli city, the ministry added.

Col. Olcay Denizer held a press conference on the latest developments in Operation Peace Spring and how the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) proceed with the operation in a sensitive manner with national and moral values.

Denizer stated that the tunnels, built especially in residential areas, are being identified and filled with concrete, one by one.

The colonel noted that 18 regime soldiers, two of whom were wounded in the operation area, were handed over to Russian forces. 

“In line with the agreement reached on Oct. 22 in Sochi, negotiations were held with the Russian delegation who came to Ankara on Oct. 28-30 to plan the military activities. 

“In this context, the first patrol activity began at 12.00 [0900GMT] today [Friday]. The patrol was carried out with the participation of eight armored vehicles, four of which were Russian, under the escort of an unmanned aerial vehicle of the Turkish Armed Forces in the east of the Operation Peace Spring zone,” Denizer said.

On Oct. 22, Erdogan and Putin held a meeting in Russia’s Black Sea resort town of Sochi.

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 northern Syria within 150 hours, and security forces from Turkey and Russia will conduct joint patrols there.

Military sources stressed that within the joint patrol, the withdrawal of PKK/YPG terrorists from the region would be monitored by the land and air forces.

“The Turkish Armed Forces have no activity in [the towns of] Tall Tamr and Ayn Issa.

“There is certain disinformation but the Turkish Armed Forces do not target civilian settlements, historical structures and national cultural structures,” Denizer said.

Denizer added that they were in constant contact with Russia in Syria and sharing all necessary information to prevent unwanted conflicts. 

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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