Over 1,610 ‘neutralized’ so far in Afrin operation: General Staff
The Turkish General Staff said in a statement on Feb. 18 that a total of 1,614 militants have been “neutralized” since the start of “Operation Olive Branch” in the northwestern Syrian district of Afrin.
The authorities use the word “neutralized” in their statements to imply that the militants in question either surrendered or were killed or captured.
In addition, a total of 674 “terrorist targets” have been destroyed in air strikes since the start of the operation, the military stated.
It also stressed that the operation is being carried out under the framework of Turkey’s rights based on international law, U.N. Security Council resolutions, its self-defense rights under the U.N. charter, and with respect for Syria’s territorial integrity.
On Jan. 20, the Turkish military, alongside elements of the Free Syrian Army (FSA), launched “Operation Olive Branch” to clear Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) militants from Afrin. The Turkish General Staff says the operation aims to establish security and stability along Turkey’s borders and in the region.
15 militants neutralized in southeastern Turkey
Meanwhile, 15 outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants were also “neutralized” in operations in the southeastern province of Hakkari, the military stated on Feb. 18.i
In a statement, the General Staff also said one soldier was killed during counter-terrorism operations in Hakkari’s Şemdinli district, near the border with Iraq.
Airstrikes on PKK targets in northern Iraq, where the PKK has its main base in the Qandil Mountain region, near the Iranian border, have been carried out regularly since July 2015. The PKK is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the EU and the U.S.