The Afrin operation launched by Commander-in-chief Recep Tayyip Erdoğan 59 days ago was turned into a victory by the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) and Free Syrian Army (FSA) upon entering Afrin’s city center on March 18, 2018, marking the anniversary of the Çanakkale Sea Victory. As we celebrate our dual victory on this happy day in unity and solidarity as a nation, I commemorate our soldiers, security forces from every rank and the forces of Free Syrian Army who became martyrs for their country and nation, and I offer my condolences to their families and our nation.
During the Euphrates Shield and Afrin operations, Turkey dealt an unprecedented blow to the separatist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) terrorist organization by neutralizing nearly 7000 terrorists - according to official numbers - and around 10,000 terrorists - according to unofficial numbers. Countries giving logistic and training support to these terrorist organizations had their share from this devastating blow, too. The U.S., NATO and some countries in the West and the Middle East, which are involved in the activities of psychological warfare and perception to cause chaos, instability and civil war in Turkey, were defeated along with these terrorist organizations which they used as their subcontractors. Because special war trainers of those countries, which provide training support for improvised explosives and antitank mines trapped in fortifications and tunnels that were built together with the terrorist organizations in rural areas and cities, attended terror activities under the mask of foreign fighters. The TAF, which astonished the entire world with its outstanding success, strategy and tactics as well as its domestic and national drones, armed drones and military equipment, completed the Euphrates Shield and Afrin operations in a very short time even though some political authorities said that they might take years and become Turkey’s Vietnam. Additionally, it revealed its significant features such as sensitivity about separating terrorists from innocent civilians and looking out for their wellbeing while protecting the environment, historical artifacts, religious and cultural structures. This stance laid rogue states, which ignore all the humanitarian values and law of war and slaughter everybody including women and children with chemical and conventional weapons in the Middle East, bare before the eyes of the world. In operations carried out by the U.S. and the regime forces, as the cities of Mosul, Raqqa, Aleppo and Eastern Ghouta were devastated and thousands of civilians and innocent people were massacred or forced to leave, the fact that the outlook of the city of Afrin remained the same before the war, and that there was no damage to buildings and civilian deaths were few, if any, is a lesson that the TAF and FSA gave to the world. The value and respect that the TAF and FSA give to human rights and law of war caused the terrorist organization, which tried to throw dirt at the TAF, and its perception management of media, which is the international hitman of this organization, to collapse.
TAF and FSA forces are hunting down the PKK/PYD terrorist organization which escaped Afrin to Tell Rifaat.
The village of Sha’ale, which is located in the east of al-Bab, being captured by the TAF and FSA is being evaluated as the first sign of the operation which will be carried out in Tell Rifaat, and to where the cowardly and despicable terrorists will escape this time is a matter of curiosity. Although Salih Muslim, who is the so-called top level authority of the PKK/PYD-YPG terrorist organization, announced that they withdrew as a part of their strategy to cover up that almost all the terrorists escaped to Tell Rifaat, the fact that a significant number of weapons and equipment that the U.S. gave to the terrorist organization was captured in some warehouses in Afrin is seen as the most significant sign that the PKK/PYD ran away in panic.
“Building stability” in the aftermath of the operation
The TAF has started a multi-dimensional “building” process in coordination with many state and non-state actors. In this sense, both the region’s own specific features and other actors’ strategic priorities have impacted the process and management of building stability in different ways in the post-operation period. For Turkey, the attempts of “building stability” are comprised of collective stability functions. These include “Security,” “Humanitarian Aid Support,” “Economic Stability and Infrastructure,” “The Establishment of Legal Status and Justice,” “Food Supply,” “Housing Services” and “Education Services.” All these aids show that Turkey has come to a professional level in terms of humanitarian aid. Re-building and rehabilitating the regions cleared of terrorists with military operations play a key role for the future of the people in the region and Turkey’s fighting strategy against terrorist organizations.
Our soldiers who made Çanakkale impassable defeating powerful nations of the world 103 years ago cleared Afrin of terrorists today and made history. As a nation, we owe a debt of gratitude to our Commander-in-Chief /President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, our government, Chief of General Staff Hulusi Akar, the commanders in chief of the armed forces, commanders who ran the operation in the field and soldiers who participated in the operation, winning a historic victory with Operation Olive Branch.