Turkey vows to protect borders during Rome meeting

Turkish Defense Minister Nurettin Canikli on Wednesday reiterated Turkey's decisiveness in clearing out terrorists from Syria's northwestern Afrin region.

Speaking at the ministerial meeting of the Global Coalition Against Daesh in Rome, Canikli pointed out Turkey's support in the fight against terrorism and its expectations from the international community while countering all terrorist organizations, in particular Daesh, the PYD/PKK and YPG/PKK.

Canikli said only Turkey was "sincerely" fighting against Daesh terrorist organization.

The U.S. Defense Minister, James Mattis, was present at the meeting convened in Rome that saw attendance from 15 members of the coalition.

Canikli also gave a briefing on the ongoing Operation Olive Branch in Afrin, which aims to establish security and stability along Turkey's borders and the region as well as protect Syrians from the oppression and cruelty of PYD/PKK, YPG, KCK and Daesh terrorists.

Drawing attention to the fact that PYD/PKK and YPG terrorists were posing a threat to Turkey, Turkish defense minister said: "Combatting terrorist groups, particularly PYD/PKK is a must in order to provide security along our borders.

"We are decisive about clearing Afrin of terrorists in order to protect security along our borders. Turkey will go to any length."

Canikli recalled that Turkey had been contributing to NATO for 66 years.

"However, NATO countries are not giving enough support to Turkey in its fight against terror elements threatening its territorial integrity."

Mattis and other defense ministers of the coalition expressed their support for Turkey in its efforts to boost border security.

On Jan. 20, Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch to clear PYD/PKK and Daesh terrorists from Afrin, northwestern Syria.

According to the Turkish General Staff, the operation aims to establish security and stability along Turkey's borders and the region as well as to protect Syrians from terrorist oppression and cruelty.

The operation is being carried out under the framework of Turkey's rights based on international law, UN Security Council resolutions, its self-defense rights under the UN charter, and respect for Syria's territorial integrity, it said.

The military also said only terror targets were being destroyed and the "utmost care and sensitivity" were being used to not harm civilians.

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