Smoke rises over the southern Afrin village of Deir Ballut after Turkish airstrikes on Saturday. Photo: Omar Haj Kadour/AFP
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Syria’s deputy foreign minister called on Kurds and Arabs in Afrin to unite against Turkey’s Operation Olive Branch.
“Afrin is an integral party of the Syrian Arab Republic,” Deputy Minister Fayssal Mikdad said on Wednesday, state-run SANA reported.
“We affirm that the Syrian Arab Army defends every inch of the Syrian territory and Syria will return as unified as it has been throughout history,” he added, with respect to Afrin.
Damascus is working to combat Turkey’s offensive on Syrian territory, he said.
A few days after Turkey launched its Operation Olive Branch on the Kurdish canton, Afrin authorities called on Damascus to fulfill its “duty” and protect its borders.
The regime in Damascus has condemned Turkey’s operation as a violation of its sovereignty.
Syria’s air defence system forced an Israeli reconnaissance plane out of its territory Wednesday night, according to SANA. The incident occurred just days after an Israeli jet crashed during operations in Syria after an Iranian drone reportedly entered Israel’s airspace from Syria.
Mikdad said their forces “will down any jet that launches an assault on Syria and that is not a mere threat.”