42 terrorists targeted last week, including those hiding out across border in Iraq, northern Syria, says National Defense Ministry official
Türkiye has “neutralized” as many as 1,682 PKK/YPG terrorists since the beginning of this year, including those hiding out across the border in Iraq and northern Syria, the National Defense Ministry said on Thursday.
A total of 42 terrorists were targeted last week, taking the total number this year to a ministry official told reporters at a briefing in the capital Ankara.
Turkish authorities use the term “neutralize” to imply that the terrorists in question surrendered or were killed or captured.
“Efforts continue to establish stability in Syria as soon as possible, enabling the safe return of Syrians to a normalized environment,” the official said, referring to Türkiye’s efforts in northern Syria to prevent the formation of a terror corridor, protecting Türkiye’s border and ensuring the safety of local Syrians.
All necessary measures are being taken to maintain security and stability in operation zones, and terrorist attacks are being met with proportional responses, the official added.
Since January, 400 incidents and attacks have been carried out by the terrorist group in areas of Türkiye’s counterterrorism operations, and 1,272 terrorists have been “neutralized” with the immediate response of Turkish soldiers, according to the official.
Since 2016, Ankara has launched a trio of successful anti-terror operations across its border in northern Syria to prevent the formation of a terror corridor and enable the peaceful settlement of residents: Euphrates Shield (2016), Olive Branch (2018), and Peace Spring (2019).
In its more than 35-year terror campaign against Türkiye, the PKK – listed as a terrorist organization by Türkiye, the US, and EU – has been responsible for the deaths of more than 40,000 people, including women, children, and infants. The YPG is its Syrian branch.
On illegal crossings into Türkiye, the official said thanks to additional effective measures, 9,863 people, who tried to illegally cross Türkiye’s borders, have been caught since Jan. 1, including 548 terrorists.
About 176,338 people were prevented before they crossed the border.
Türkiye has been a key transit point for irregular migrants who want to cross into Europe to start new lives, especially those fleeing war and persecution.
The country, which already hosts 4 million refugees, more than any other country in the world, is taking new measures at its borders to prevent a fresh influx of migrants.
– Humanitarian assistance, evacuation in Palestine
In response to a question regarding the role that the Turkish National Defense Ministry can play in aid efforts for Palestine, a ministry source said: “The Turkish Armed Forces are ready to take part in both humanitarian assistance and evacuation in line with the directives to be given.”
Emphasizing their experience in both evacuation and healthcare support, the source highlighted the key factor in the success of aid efforts is the suitability of the conditions in the region.
– US sending second carrier strike group to region
In comments over the arrival of the second US aircraft carrier strike group to the Eastern Mediterranean, the source said they closely monitor any developments related to defense and security in the region, and have taken the necessary precautions.
Many countries have shown a close interest in the region for many years, the source said, adding: “Carrier strike groups periodically perform duties in these areas. The US has announced the deployment of another group, which has not arrived yet.”
“When inquired about this with US counterparts, they said that carrier strike groups had come as part of the evacuation operation for non-combatants and civilians.
“We are closely monitoring the operations,” the source added.
– Türkiye’s activities in Eastern Mediterranean
About the activities of Turkish forces in the Eastern Mediterranean, the source said they continue their planned training and exercises with determination.
“The Turkish Armed Forces are resolutely protecting the rights, interests, and sovereignty of Türkiye and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC),” the insider said, adding that Turkish naval forces are actively conducting reconnaissance, surveillance, presence, and exercise activities in the Eastern Mediterranean with an adequate number of ships.