Turkey has the right to defend its borders from YPG/PKK terrorists, a Syrian Kurdish leader said Thursday.
Speaking at a panel on Syria's future organized by the Turkish Heritage Organization in Washington, Abdulaziz Tammo, president of the Independent Syrian Kurds Association, said Ankara's operation in northeastern Syria is based on "justified" grounds.
"Turkey has the right to protect its borders from all terrorist organizations, be it Daesh or the YPG/PKK. It does not matter."
Tammo said the PYD/YPG, the Syrian offshoot of the PKK terror organization, posed the same threat to Syrian Kurds as the Daesh terror group, adding the PKK is not a Syrian organization and PKK militants from many countries are active in Syria.
Stating that Turkey's military operations in northern Syria have "gravely" differed from those carried out by the U.S.-led anti-Daesh coalition, Tammo said: "While Turkey has exerted maximum caution to prevent civilian casualties, for example in Raqqa operations [by the coalition], the town was flattened."
The Syrian Kurdish leader said the area in northeastern Syria should be cleared of terror organizations so that large numbers of Syrian refugees could settle there.
Turkey launched Operation Peace Spring on Oct. 9 to eliminate the terrorist YPG/PKK from 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.
Ankara wants YPG/PKK terrorists to withdraw from the region so that a safe zone can be created to pave the way for the safe return of some 2 million refugees.
In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK -- listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and European Union -- has been responsible for the deaths of over 40,000 people, including women, children and infants.
By Servet Günerigök in Washington