A total of 342 “terrorists” have been neutralized by Turkish forces since the beginning of Operation Peace Spring in northern Syria, Turkey’s defense minister Hulusi Akar said on October 11.
Akar made his remarks after meeting with top military officials in Turkey’s capital Ankara, where he talked about the measure Turkish forces are taking in the course of the operation.
“Our aim is to end the existence of terrorists — especially Daesh [ISIS], PKK/PYD-YPG — east of the Euphrates River and establish a peace corridor to assure our Syrian brothers’ return to their own lands, homes … We give the utmost importance to not only the security of our country and people, but also to the ethnic groups — Kurdish, Arabic, Assyrian, Christian, Ezidis and Keldani people — as well,” the Turkish defense minister said, according to the Anadolu Agency.
Turkish officals usually use the term “neutralized” to imply that the fighters in question either surrendered or were killed or captured.
The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which control northeast Syria, have not commented on Akar’s claims, yet. However, the Kurdish-dominated group announced that 22 of its fighters were killed in the last 48 hours.
The Turkish military and its Syrian proxies launched Operation Peace Spring in northeast Syria two days ago. A 120 km long, 30 km deep “safe-zone” is supposed to be established in the region in the first phase of the operation.