SANLIURFA, Turkey 

Turkey has established five PCR testing labs to diagnose coronavirus infections in northern Syria, local authorities said on Thursday.

The Sanliurfa Governorship said in a statement that its Syria Support and Coordination Center coordinated with Assistance Coordination Unit, an NGO based in the southeastern Turkish province bordering Syria, and established testing labs in Tal Abyad and Ras al-Ayn districts, which were cleared of YPG/PKK terrorists during Turkey’s Operation Peace Spring.

Officials seeking entry into Turkey after staying in Syria for more than 15 days are required to be tested at these centers and will have to show their test results at the border gate.

Turkey on Oct. 9, 2019 launched Operation Peace Spring to eliminate YPG/PKK terrorists from northern Syria east of the Euphrates River to secure Turkey’s borders, aid in the safe return of Syrian refugees, and ensure Syria’s territorial integrity.

Since then, Turkey has reached agreements with both the US and Russia to force the terrorist group to withdraw from the planned terror-free zone.

However, the YPG/PKK has continued to carry out attacks in Tal Abyad and Ras al-Ayn despite pulling out of areas under a deal reached by Turkey and the US in October 2019.

In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK – listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the US and the EU – has been responsible for the deaths of nearly 40,000 people, including women, children, and infants. The YPG is the PKK’s Syrian offshoot.

*Writing by Merve Aydogan in Ankara

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