By Michael Hernandez
WASHINGTON (AA) – Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu asked anti-Daesh/ISIS coalition partners Thursday to refrain from partnering with the PYD/YPG, calling it a terrorist entity that must be treated as such.
Cavusoglu told the gathering of coalition foreign ministers that members must work with "legitimate partners," stating that the PKK's Syrian off-shoot is responsible for more than 300 attacks in the last two years against Turks and Syrians.
That includes, the Turkish top diplomat said, firing over 1,000 rockets and mortars on Turkish towns as Turkish casualties have approached 200.
"PYD/YPG has committed crimes against humanity," he said, citing mass killings and assassinations among others during the ministerial meeting at the State Department. "We expect all our Coalition partners to disengage from PYD/YPG."
"Thanks to Operation Peace Spring, PYD/YPG agenda to establish a terror statelet is now in ruins. Syria’s territorial integrity and unity is enforced. A long-standing terror threat to Turkey is contained," he added.
Turkey launched Operation Peace Spring on Oct. 9 to eliminate YPG/PKK terrorists from northern Syria east of the Euphrates River in order to secure Turkey's borders, aid in the safe return of Syrian refugees and ensure Syria's territorial integrity.
On Oct. 17, the U.S. and Turkey came to an agreement to pause the operation to allow the withdrawal of terrorist YPG/PKK forces from the planned safe zone, where Ankara wants to repatriate millions of Syrian refugees it is currently hosting.
In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK has been responsible for the deaths of 40,000 people, including women, children and infants.
*Dildar Baykan contributed to this report