Turkish security forces 'neutralized' over 1,100 terrorists so far in 2023
Türkiye has "neutralized" more than 1,100 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, News.Az reports citing Anadolu Agency.
"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 1,146 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 added, referring to Turkish efforts in northern Syria to prevent the formation of a terrorist 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 said.
Since January, 96 harassment incidents and attacks have been carried out by the YPG/PKK terrorist group in areas of Türkiye's counterterrorism operations, and 840 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 the terrorist PKK's Syrian branch.
On illegal crossings into Türkiye, the official said thanks to additional effective measures, 5,756 people, who tried to illegally cross Türkiye's borders have been caught since Jan. 1, including 417 terrorists.
Nearly 145,700 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.