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Daesh threat in Syria nearly finished: Turkey

Soldiers patrol an area after Turkish Armed Forces and FSA members cleared Kafr Rum village in the northeastern Sharan district from PYD/PKK-Daesh terrorists within the "Operation Olive Branch" in Afrin, Syria on March 10, 2018. Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch on January 20 in Syria’s northwestern Afrin region; the aim of the operation is to establish security and stability along Turkish borders and the region as well as to eliminate PKK/KCK/PYD-YPG and Daesh terror groups, and protect the Syrian people from the oppression and cruelty of terrorists. ( Huseyin Nasir - Anadolu Agency )

The threat of Daesh terrorist organization in Syria is nearly extinguished, Turkey’s national defense minister said on Saturday.

“Since Daesh has nearly been eliminated, the engagement of France will be unnecessary,” Nurettin Canikli told journalists after a trilateral meeting with his Azerbaijani and Georgian counterparts in the Black Sea city of Giresun, referring to recent reports that French forces might enter Syria to confront Daesh.

“Entering areas that have escaped this terrorist threat amounts to occupation,” he warned.

He also stressed that there should be no support, whether direct or indirect, for terrorists in the name of eliminating Daesh, referring to the PYD/YPG/PKK and SDF/PKK, terrorist groups that have received Western support.

READ: US leaving Syria ‘very soon’, Trump says 

“This is a wrong approach,” he said.

On Turkey’s role in the elimination of Daesh, he said: “Other countries have engaged by representatives and other support forces, while the Turkish military has engaged directly with its own army.”

Turkey’s engagement in the elimination of terrorists is part of its legitimate right to maintain peace and stability in the region, he added.

He cited the current Operation Olive Branch as one of Turkey’s efforts to eradicate both the PYD/YPG/PKK and Daesh.

Also speaking at the meeting, Zakir Hasanov, Azerbaijan’s defense minister, hailed the Turkish military as “one of the strongest armies in NATO,” stressing that Azerbaijan stands with Turkey’s fight against terrorism.

Stressing its ties with Azerbaijan, he called Turkey “a country which has the same language, religion, and culture.”

READ: France’s Macron vows support for northern Syrians, Kurdish militia 

Hasanov said he is glad to see Azerbaijan cooperate with Turkey and Georgia on defense.

Levan Izoria, Georgia’s defense minister, said Baku is grateful for Turkey and Azerbaijan’s support for Georgia’s territorial integrity.

Mentioning Russian intrusion in Georgia, he said Saturday’s meeting could help its NATO integration.

He said that more than 1,000 Georgian military officers have gotten Turkish military training to facilitate such integration.

During the meeting, the three defense ministers signed a memorandum of understanding in defense-related areas.

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