Türkiye ‘neutralized’ 44 terrorists last week, including those hiding out across border in Iraq, northern Syria, says National Defense Ministry official
Türkiye has “neutralized” more than 1,200 YPG/PKK 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 44 terrorists were neutralized last week,” a National Defense Ministry official told reporters at a background briefing in the capital Ankara, adding that a total of 1,229 terrorists have been “neutralized” so far this year.
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 operational areas, and terrorist attacks are being met with proportional responses, the official added.
Since January, 298 harassment incidents and attacks have been carried out by the YPG/PKK terrorist group in areas of Türkiye’s counterterrorism operations, and 903 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).
On illegal crossings into Türkiye, the official said thanks to additional effective measures, 6,890 people, who tried to illegally cross Türkiye’s borders have been caught since Jan. 1, including 487 terrorists.
A total of 153,412 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.
– Incident in Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus
About an incident occurred between UN peacekeepers and Turkish Cypriot soldiers on Burhan Tan Street in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) on Sept. 11, Turkish security sources said that the street falls under the jurisdiction of the Security Forces Command personnel as part of the “Demilitarization Agreement” signed between the TRNC, the Greek Cypriot administration, and the UN in 1989, the sources added.
“The UN peacekeeping force has recently displayed behaviors that could jeopardize the principle of neutrality, which they are required to carefully uphold on the island. During the cleaning activity of the street on Sept. 11, UN peacekeeping force personnel attempted to enter the area, where Security Forces Command personnel were present, and claimed that they intended to carry out cleaning duties.”
An argument ensued during this attempt, and a member of the Security Force Command was punched by a UN Peacekeeping Force member, the sources said.
Following the incident, the deputy commander of the peacekeeping force apologized, saying that a detailed investigation would be conducted into the incident and appropriate action would be taken, they added.
– ‘Opening of the Zengezur corridor holds great importance’
Regarding the recent tension between Azerbaijan and Armenia, Turkish security sources said Armenia has been observed violating the cease-fire in the region, as well as digging trenches, opening new positions, and fortifying its positions.
They recalled that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has held talks with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan in an effort to reduce tensions.
“Armenia should set aside provocations and focus on peace negotiations and cooperation. The path to regional peace and stability lies in the signing of a comprehensive peace agreement. In this regard, the opening of the Zengezur corridor holds great importance,” the sources added.