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Turkey has no plans to attack government troops in Syria, says foreign minister

January 25, 2018, 20:23 UTC+3 ANKARA

According to recent reports, Turkish warplanes hit more than 250 targets in Syria's Afrin

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© Ibrahim Mase/DHA-Depo Photos via AP

ANKARA, January 25. /TASS/. Turkey is not going to attack government troops in Syria if they don’t strike the first blow, the Anadolu news agency quoted Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu as saying on Thursday.

"At some point they brought down our plane and we retaliated. At the moment they don’t attack us, and that is why we have no reasons to see them as a target. Our government knows that the aim of the People’s Protection Units is the division of Syria. And we, the opposition and the government, at the present moment come out in favor of Syria’s territorial integrity," he said.

Besides, he expressed confidence that the Syrian government "will not cooperate with terrorists from the People’s Protection Units and the Democratic Union Party".

Turkey’s General Staff on January 20 declared the start of an operation codenamed Olive Branch against the Kurdish groups People’s Protection Units and the Democratic Union Party in Afrin, which is home to about 1.5 million Kurds and refugees from other areas of Syria. Ankara said one of the operation’s tasks was creation of a 30-kilometer security zone in the north of Syria.

According to the latest information, Turkish warplanes hit more than 250 targets in Afrin. On January 20, the Syrian Foreign Ministry issued a statement that strongly condemned "the Turkish aggression in Afrin and urged the international community to immediately stop it".

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