‘Operation Peace Spring’ enters third day, ‘neutralizes’ 342 terrorists
Some 342 terrorists have been “neutralized” since Turkey launched a military operation into northeastern Syria on Oct. 9, the Turkish defense minister has said.
“The operation continues with success, like we planned. Up until now, 342 terrorists have been neutralized,” Hulusi Akar said on Oct. 11.
The minister’s remarks came after the assessment meeting he held with high-ranking military officials, including Chief of Staff Gen. Yaşar Güler and generals of service commands.
The meeting was held with simultaneous footage from the operation area.
All necessary precautions are being taken, Akar said.
“We will hopefully finish what we started,” he said.
The operation is being carried out on grounds of the “right to self-defense” article of the U.N. Charter, Akar said.
“Our aim is to put an end to the presence of terrorists in east of River Euphrates, especially Daesh, PKK/PYD/YPG, and to institute a peace corridor to provide the return of our Syrian brothers to their homelands,” he added.
During the operation’s planning and actualization, shelters, coves, and military equipment of terrorists are targeted, Akar conveyed.
“Utmost caution and sensitivity are being shown to refrain from any damage to the environment, civilians, innocent people, cultural and religious structures, infrastructure facilities and possible elements of friend and ally countries,” the minister said.
“We are not only setting a premium on the security of our country and nation but to the security of religious and ethnic groups, including Kurds, Arabs, Assyrians, Christians, Yazidis and Chaldeans,” he added.
Turkey is the only NATO and coalition country that “comes to close quarters” with ISIL, Akar said.
“The heroic Turkish Armed Forces [TSK] has neutralized over 3,000 terrorists of Daesh with Operation Euphrates Shield,” he said.
Akar discusses ‘Operation Peace Spring’ with foreign counterparts
In the meantime, Akar discussed the ongoing operation with his foreign counterparts including U.S.’s Mark Esper, U.K.’s Ben Wallace and France’s Florence Parly over the phone, on Oct. 10, according to the Defense Ministry.
During the phone conversations, the ministers exchanged opinions on topics such as defense and security, the ministry’s statement read.
Akar also informed his counterparts on the aim and course of “Operation Peace Spring,” the statement added.
Operation enters third day
Ankara on Oct. 9 launched Operation Peace Spring into northeastern Syria, in a bid to provide border security and to ensure the safe return of Syrian refugees in Turkey.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced the operation’s start on Twitter on Oct. 9. The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and opposition İYİ (Good) Party have voiced their support to the operation.
As part of the operation, the Turkish Armed Forces, accompanied by the Syrian National Army, launched a ground offensive on Oct. 9, advancing into northern Syria.
Turkish F-16 jets destroyed YPG targets 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) deep east of the Euphrates River, Anadolu Agency reported on late Oct. 9.
Turkish airstrikes and howitzers hit 181 terror targets in the first night of the operation, the Defense Ministry had announced on Oct. 10.
Turkish troops advanced 7 kilometers deep into the bordering Tal Abyad town of northern Syria on Oct. 10.
In the meantime, Turkish soldiers have been launching artillery shots on targets in Ras al-Ain.
Up until now, a Turkish soldier has been killed and three others have been injured.
Turkey rejects claims of targeting civilians
The Defense Ministry on Oct. 11 denied claims that Turkish army targeted civilians in Qamishli and Derik districts in northern Syria.
The false reports by “baby killer” PKK/PYD-YPG terrorists claiming that Turkish Armed Forces targeted civilians in Qamishli and Derik in northern Syria “push the limits of reason”, said the ministry in a statement.
There are no operational elements belonging to Turkish forces in these regions, the statement added.