A group of Turkish nationals living in the U.S. on Sunday rallied in front of the White House in support of Turkey's Operation Peace Spring against terrorists in northern Syria. The demonstrators held up signs saying that the PKK terror group, its Syrian offshoot the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its armed branch, the People's Protection Units (YPG), are the same. They denounced the terrorist groups and called on the U.S. government to end support to the YPG. The U.S. partnered with the YPG in its fight against Daesh terror group, despite listing the PKK as a terror organization. Turkey launched Operation Peace Spring, the third in a series of cross-border anti-terror operations in northern Syria targeting terrorists affiliated with Daesh and the PKK's Syrian offshoot the YPG, on Oct. 9 at 4 p.m.
The operation, conducted in line with the country's right to self-defense borne out of international law and U.N. Security Council resolutions, aims to establish a terror-free safe zone for Syrians return in the area east of the Euphrates River controlled by the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which is dominated by YPG terrorists.
Turkey's Ambassador to Washington Serdar Kılıç shared videos of the rally on Twitter, applauding those who had "painted the street red and white" to show support for Turkey.
On Oct. 6, hours after a phone call with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, U.S. President Donald Trump announced that U.S. troops would withdraw from northern Syria ahead of a long-awaited counterterrorism operation by Turkey. However, in the days that followed, the president's rhetoric oscillated between supportive and condemning, even threatening to "destroy" Turkey's economy with heavy sanctions.
The PKK — listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the European Union — has waged a terror campaign against Turkey for more than 30 years, resulting in the deaths of nearly 40,000 people, including women, children and infants.
Turkey has long decried the threat from terrorists east of the Euphrates in northern Syria, pledging military action to prevent the formation of a "terrorist corridor" there.
Since 2016, Turkey's Euphrates Shield and Olive Branch operations in northwestern Syria have liberated the region from YPG/PKK and Daesh terrorists, making it possible for nearly 400,000 Syrians who fled the violence to return home.