Kurdish fighters have fired 82 rockets at the southern Turkish provinces of Reyhanli, Hatay, Kilis and Binali Yildirim since the start of Ankara’s Operation Olive Brach in the Syrian area of Afrin on January 20, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said on February 2.
“Due to these rockets, five of our citizens have lost their lives and we have had over 100 of our citizens injured. This does not include the demolished buildings and mosques,” the prime minister said.
Commenting on the Ankara attitude towars Kurdish militias [Ankara describes them as “terrorists”] opeating in the Afrin area, Yildirim said that Turkish forces “will destroy them all.”
Meawnhile, Turkey’s presidential aide Ibrahim Kalin accused the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its military wing, the People’s Protection Units, of using human shields in the area.
“The use of human shields to stop Turkey’s lawful steps in the region should ring alarm bells in the White House, which has been told by policymakers that the YPG was a reliable ally in Syria,” the official wrote in a guest column for CNN International online.
Kalin rejected an opinion that Operation Olive Branch is a distraction from the war on ISIS.
“Eliminating all terrorist threats from Syria should be welcome as a right step to ensure peace and security and protect Syria’s territorial integrity,” he said.
The Turkish authorities say that the PYD/YPG is a Syrian branch of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which is recognized as a terorrist group in Turkey, the US and many other states. The problem is that the YPG is a core of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces.
On February 2, the Turkish General Staff claimed that 823 ‘terrorists’ had been ‘neutralized’ by Turkish forces since the start of Operation Olive Branch.