Turkish intelligence announced the killing of a prominent leader of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), the military backbone of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), in Ain al-Arab, northern Syria.
On Monday, the Anadolu Agency reported that a special operation by Turkish intelligence neutralized Arhan Arman, a member of Ain al-Arab Executive Council of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
Arman joined the banned PKK in 2013 and participated in many operations inside the Turkish territories. He later moved to Ain al-Arab, where he assumed the task of organizing recruits and participated in the smuggling of weapons and terrorists into Turkey.
Meanwhile, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar stressed that his country’s goal in military operations outside its borders is to combat “terrorist organizations” and that it is not seeking to claim territory in neighbouring countries.
He called on the US to end its support of the YPG, which Washington considers a close ally in the war against the terrorist ISIS organization in Syria.
During an interview with Anadolu on Monday, Akar said the Turkish armed forces have eliminated 2,226 terrorists since the beginning of the year.
He added that Ankara respects the sovereignty and territorial integrity of neighboring countries and that its operations against terrorist organizations in Syria and Iraq will benefit both countries as well.
Turkey aims to protect citizens’ security without harming anyone, said the minister, asserting that “Turks, Kurds, Arabs, Sunnis, and Alevis are brothers, and Turkey does not target any of them. It only seeks to eliminate terrorist organizations, and everyone should realize that.”
Turkey’s new strategy in combating terrorism is to strike terrorists wherever they are, he continued.
He criticized the US support for the YPG, adding that Washington will realize one day that “you cannot live with terrorism and terrorists. They will eventually understand this” and abandon the YPG.
Moreover, the minister condemned the condolences offered by the US Central Command over the death of a YPG commander. He described it as an “abdication of reason,” adding that there is no explanation for it.
“Our US allies will be upset when they remember this one day.”
The US has declared its rejection of a possible Turkish military operation against the SDF in northern Syria.
Ankara had said it was planning an incursion against the SDF in Manbij and Tal Rifaat to establish safe zones at 30 kilometers in Syrian territory to secure its southern borders.
Washington warned that the operation would endanger its forces taking part in anti-ISIS operations.
Meanwhile, clashes continued between the Turkish troops and the pro-Ankara Syrian National Army against SDF and regime forces in northern Syria.
On Monday, clashes with heavy and medium machine guns erupted between the regime forces, the SDF, and the National Army on the Harbel axis in Aleppo’s northern countryside.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Turkish forces stationed at the Thulthana base on the outskirts of Marea in the northern countryside of Aleppo shelled the vicinity of the villages of Umm al-Hosh and Ahris in the northern Aleppo countryside.
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