Afrin operation targets both YPG and ISIL: Turkish Chief of Staff Akar
ANKARA – Anadolu Agency
Turkey’s ongoing military operation in the northern Syrian province of Afrin not only targets the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) but also the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), Chief of General Staff Hulusi Akar said on March 12.
“It is not only the PKK [Kurdistan Workers’ Party] that is being removed from the area but also ISIL,” Akar said, speaking in Doha, where he was attending the Doha International Maritimes and Defense Exhibition (DIMDEX).
“ISIL terrorists have been changing their clothes to disguise themselves and join the front with the PKK,” Akar said.
Regarding the Afrin operation’s aims, Akar said it is aimed at sending many Syrian nationals in Turkey “back home” and “establishing peace and serenity in the region.”
He also said that around 60 militants have surrendered since the beginning of the operation and that the wounded among them have received treatment.
More than 3,300 YPG militants ‘neutralized’
The Turkish General Staff said in a statement on the morning of March 12 that a total of 3,347 YPG militants have been “neutralized” since the start of “Operation Olive Branch” on Jan. 20.
The authorities often use the word “neutralized” in their statements to imply that the militants in question either surrendered or were killed or captured.
DIMDEX showcases 33 Turkish firms
DIMDEX kicked off in the Qatari capital on March 12. Launched in 2008, DIMDEX is considered the Middle East and North Africa region’s largest event devoted to maritime security, with a total of $32 billion in deals being signed at the last five exhibitions.
Along with Akar, this year’s three-day event was due to be attended by Qatar’s deputy emir, Abdullah bin Hamad al-Thani; Qatari Defense Minister Khaled al-Attiyah; Turkish Defense Minister Nurettin Canikli, and a number of military officials from both countries.
Some 180 companies from more than 60 countries are taking part in the exhibition, which is expected to see a number of important maritime defense deals signed.
The event, which showcases the latest maritime technologies and equipment, will include shipbuilding companies and manufacturers of shipborne communications systems, radar systems, missile systems and electronic warfare systems.
At least 33 Turkish firms in the defense and maritime security fields are taking part in this year’s exhibition.