by WorldTribune Staff, February 1, 2018
A huge portrait of Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) founder Abdullah Ocalan in northern Syria was destroyed by a Turkish air force drone, reports say.
The attack on the portrait, which was part of a monument built on a 53-meter concrete pedestal in Afrin, is part of Turkey’s so-called Operation Olive Branch incursion into Syria that began on Jan. 20, Sputnik reported.
Ocalan has been imprisoned on Imrali island in the Sea of Marmara since 1999.
The Turkish newspaper Daily Sabah described the Ocalan monument as “evidence of the organic ties between the PKK…and the People’s Protection Units (YPG), the main partner of the U.S.-led coalition in Syria.”
Turkey considers both the PKK and YPG to be terrorist organizations.
The Turkish military has reported killing 712 militants in the operation and destroying over 400 facilities. Turkey’s Defense Ministry on Jan. 30 confirmed that five Turkish troops have been killed in the operation.
Damascus has condemned Turkey’s operation as an assault on Syria’s sovereignty.
Russia has called on all sides to respect Syria’s territorial integrity. On Jan. 31, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that Moscow continues to monitor the situation closely, and sees the developments in northern Syria as “a matter of grave concern.”