Turkey 'neutralized' 1,458 terrorists so far this year: Defense minister
Turkish security forces have so far “neutralized” a total of 1,458 terrorists in cross-border operations since the beginning of this year, the defense minister said on May 25.
“As of Jan. 1, a total of 1,458 terrorists have been neutralized as a result of the operations carried out within the framework of the fight against terrorism in northern Iraq and Syria,” Hulusi Akar said in the central Kayseri province.
“Turkish Armed Forces will resolutely continue its fight until the last terrorist is neutralized,” Akar added.
Turkish authorities often use the word "neutralize" to imply the terrorists in question surrendered or were killed or captured.
Stressing that Turkey makes every effort to continue to find a political solution in Syria, Akar said: “Although there are some minor violations [in the northwestern city of Idlib], the cease-fire is generally observed.”
“As a result of the cease-fire, approximately 300,000 Syrian brothers and sisters returned to their homes safely and voluntarily,” he added.
Since 2016, Turkey has launched a trio of successful anti-terrorist operations across its border in northern Syria to prevent the formation of a terror corridor and enable peaceful settlement by locals: Euphrates Shield (2016), Olive Branch (2018), and Peace Spring (2019).
Turkey targets members of the PKK terror group in both northern Iraq and Syria, the group responsible for the death of tens of thousands of people in Turkey over past decades.
The YPG is the Syrian offshoot of the PKK terror group and its members frequently attempt to infiltrate into Turkish posts to commit acts of terrorism.