02:56 GMT +316 November 2018
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    Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army fighters are seen near Mount Barsaya, northeast of Afrin, Syria

    Turkish Opposition Calls for Contacts With Damascus to Ensure Peace in Syria

    © REUTERS / Khalil Ashawi
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    ANKARA (Sputnik) - Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the leader of the Turkish main opposition Republican People's Party on Sunday called on the country’s authorities to re-establish contacts with Damascus for ensuring peace and stabilization of the situation in Syria amid the ongoing Turkish military operation in Afrin.

    "Those in power are trying to represent the Turkish Armed Forces’ operation in Afrin as a solution taken by their [ruling] party. But it is a fight for Turkey, not for them. They must immediately contact the Syrian government in order to guarantee the territorial integrity of Syria and stop the bloodshed," Kilicdaroglu said at his party’s congress after he was re-elected as the party’s president.

    This time Kilicdaroglu reiterated his stance, as he has already expressed his readiness to establish direct contacts with the Syrian government on January 29.

    The opposition leader statement amid the ongoing Turkish military offensive in Kurdish-dominated Afrin launched on January 20.

    READ MORE: Turkish 'Olive Branch': General Staff on Results of Offensive in Afrin

    Explaining its decision to start the operation in the region, Ankara asserted that the advance was aimed at clearing the country's border with Syria from the terrorist presence, referring to the Kurdish formations operating in the area. Turkish operation was primarily targeting the People's Protection Units (YPG), consisting a part of the opposition Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which linked to the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). the latter is designated as a terrorist organization in Turkey.

    READ MORE: Kurdish Forces Use NATO Weapons Against Turkey — Military Analysts

    Damascus has expressed its opposition to the Turkish operation, saying that such actions violated Syrian sovereignty.

    A few months before the offensive, in November, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared that he did not rule out future cooperation with Damascus against the Kurdish authorities in northern Syria. However, no corresponding talks or meeting have been announced so far.

    Tags:
    military operation in Syria, opposition parties, Operation Olive Branch, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, Syria, Afrin, Turkey
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