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Qatari defense minister backs Turkey's Afrin operation

QATARI DEFENSE MINISTER BACKS TURKEYS AFRIN OPERATION

Qatar's Defense Minister Khalid bin Mohammad Al Attiyah discussed Operation Olive Branch with his Turkish counterpart Nurettin Canikli in a phone call Tuesday.

The ministers discussed the latest developments in the Turkish military operation against the PYD/PKK and Daesh terrorist groups in Syria's northwestern city of Afrin, Qatar's Defense Ministry said in a statement.

During the conversation, Attiyah underscored the strong bilateral relations between the countries and voiced Doha's support for Turkey's "fight against terrorism", it added.

On Monday, Qatar's Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Lulwah Rashid Al Khater also expressed her country's support for the operation, noting that Turkey's military campaign in Syria's Afrin region was motivated by legitimate security concerns.

Turkey on Saturday launched Operation Olive Branch to remove PYD/PKK and Daesh terrorists from the city of Afrin.

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

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 the "utmost importance" is being put on not harming civilians.

Afrin has been a major hideout for the PYD/PKK since July 2012 when the regime of Syria's Bashar al-Assad left the city to the terror group without putting up a fight.

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