ANKARA

Turkey’s defense minister on Sunday welcomed Eid al-Fitr, the holiday marking the end of Islamic fasting month of Ramadan, with the troops deployed at the Syrian border.

Hulusi Akar, accompanied by Chief of General Staff Yasar Guler, and top commanders of the land, air, and sea forces arrived at the border on Saturday to inspect the troops joining the operations against terrorists in northern Syria.

Top military officials and soldiers exchanged Eid greetings following the coronavirus measures.

“Turkish Armed Forces are fighting against terrorism on the one hand and the novel coronavirus on the other,” Akar said.

“For the security of our country and nation, we have successfully fulfilled the duties given to us until now, and we will continue to fulfill them. For the sovereignty and independence of our country and nation, we need to work harder than ever and learn from history,” he added.

Since 2016, Turkey has launched a trio of successful anti-terrorist operations across its border into northern Syria to prevent the formation of a terror corridor and enable peaceful settlement by locals: Euphrates Shield (2016), Olive Branch (2018), and Peace Spring (2019).

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

* Writing by Erdogan Cagatay Zontur

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