HATAY, Turkey (Rahnuma) :Turkey’s national defense minister on Thursday began an inspection of troops deployed along the country’s border with Syria.
Hulusi Akar was accompanied by Chief of General Staff Gen. Yasar Guler and his lieutenants: Land Forces Commander Umit Dundar, Naval Forces Commander Adnan Ozbal, and Air Forces Commander Hasan Kucukakyuz.
The military delegation met the commanders of troops stationed along the border and was briefed about recent activities there.
Since 2016, Turkey has conducted two major military operations in northwestern Syria — Operations Euphrates Shield and Olive Branch — to purge the region of terrorist groups, most notably the PKK/YPG, the Syrian branch of the terrorist PKK.
Last Friday, Akar told acting U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper: “The only military force that is ready, competent and appropriate for the establishment of a safe zone in northern Syria is the Turkish Armed Forces.”
In a phone conversation, Akar reiterated that for Turkey, protecting its borders and people is the priority, and in the face of intensive attacks from the Syrian border, Turkey must take necessary measures to block terrorist groups from seeking safe havens right across the frontier.
Even as Turkey has targeted the terrorist PKK/YPG, the U.S. has allied itself with the group, ostensibly to fight Daesh in Syria.
In its 30-year terrorist campaign against Turkey, the PKK has taken some 40,000 lives.
Syria has only just begun to emerge from a devastating conflict that began in early 2011 when the Bashar al-Assad regime cracked down on demonstrators with unexpected severity.