Reiterating Turkey's firm stance in the fight against terrorism, Erdogan said the region neighbouring Sanliurfa would also be liberated from terrorists, and handed down to the real owners of the region.

Turkish President Erdogan addresses members of the parliament from his ruling AK Party during a meeting in Ankara, Turkey April 24, 2018.
Turkish President Erdogan addresses members of the parliament from his ruling AK Party during a meeting in Ankara, Turkey April 24, 2018. (Reuters)

Turkish military has “dealt with” terrorist PKK leaders in an air operation in Mount Qandil region of northern Iraq, Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday.

Erdogan’s remarks came during his governing Justice and Development (AK) Party’s election rally in southeastern Sanliurfa province.

“We conducted our first operation with 20 fighter jets and struck 10 significant points in Mount Qandil area.

“In our second operation, we dealt with their leaders' team when they were at a meeting in Mount Qandil area.”

On June 10, Turkish airstrikes destroyed 14 PKK terror targets in the mountainous region, the military said.

Reiterating Turkey's firm stance in the fight against terrorism, Erdogan said the region neighbouring Sanliurfa region would also be liberated from terrorists, and handed down to Arabs, Kurds, Turkmens, the real owners of the region.

During his address, the president also announced that an applied sciences university would be established in liberated northern Syrian city of Al Bab.

Erdogan said an applied sciences faculty would be established in Al Bab in co-ordination with Turkey's Maarif Foundation and Harran University.

Erdogan recalled that Syria's Jarablus and Al Bab towns and Afrin city were all cleared of terrorists after Turkey's Euphrates Shield and Olive Branch operations.

"Nearly 200,000 Syrians returned to these areas, to Jarablus and now to Afrin. And now we have made a deal with America and are making Manbij a safer area."

Operations continue in Iraq

"My Arab brothers in Manbij are returning and will return to their lands," Erdogan said.

Erdogan said Turkey established 12 observation points in Syria's Idlib and made the area safer for its residents.

He emphasised that Turkey's operations in northern Iraq would continue destroying the PKK terrorist organisation.

Turkey has said the presence of terrorist forces near its border constituted a threat, and has launched military operations and other efforts to rid the region of terrorists.

Operation Euphrates Shield, which began in August 2016 and ended in March 2017, was aimed at eliminating the terrorist threat along the Turkish border with the use of the Free Syrian Army, backed by Turkish artillery and air cover.

On Jan. 20, Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch to remove YPG/PKK and Daesh terrorists from northwestern Syria's Afrin region. On March 18, Day 58 of the operation, Turkish troops, and Free Syrian Army members liberated the town of Afrin.

On Monday, the Turkish and US forces began patrols in Syria's Manbij in line with a deal which was first announced after a meeting in Washington last week between Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. 

The Manbij deal focuses on the withdrawal of the PKK-affiliated YPG terror group from the northern Syrian city in order to stabilise the region.

Should the model prove to be a success, Turkey will push for a similar arrangement in eastern Syria.

Later, addressing AK Party’s election rally in southeastern Mardin province, Erdogan said it is now Qandil's turn to be liberated from terrorists, citing Turkish military’s successful operation in Afrin, northwestern Syria.

“Wherever terror and harassment against Turkey is, we will be down on their [terrorists'] necks,” Erdogan said.

In its over-30-year terrorist campaign against Turkey, the PKK has taken some 40,000 lives, including those of women and children. The YPG/PKK is its Syrian branch.

Source: AA