Turkey ‘neutralised’ almost 2,400 terrorists in 2018 – minister

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TOPSHOT - A Turkish-backed Syrian rebel fighters hold Turkish national flag (R) and Free Syrian Army flags (L) at a checkpoint in the Syrian town of Azaz on a road leading to Afrin, on February 1, 2018. Clashes raged between Turkish-backed forces and Kurdish militia in Syria's Afrin region on January 31, 2018, as wounded civilians fled intense Turkish air strikes. Turkey and allied Syrian rebels have pressed on with Operation Olive Branch in the Kurdish-controlled Afrin enclave despite mounting international concern and reports of rising civilian casualties. / AFP PHOTO / OZAN KOSE

Defence Minister Hulusi Akar says Ankara carried 147 major counter-terrorism operations, and air strikes destroyed 922 targets including arms depots and shelters used by terrorists.

Turkish gendarmerie of Provincial Gendarmerie Command stands guard during winter solstice to provide safety as they continue to carry out operations against PKK/KCK terrorists in Van province of Turkey on December 21, 2018.
Turkish gendarmerie of Provincial Gendarmerie Command stands guard during winter solstice to provide safety as they continue to carry out operations against PKK/KCK terrorists in Van province of Turkey on December 21, 2018. (AA)

Turkey “neutralised” almost 2,400 terrorists in 147 major counter-terrorism operations in 2018, Turkey’s defence minister said on Tuesday, during his visit to the Turkish military brigades deployed on the border with Syria.

Hulusi Akar said the Turkish air strikes also destroyed 922 targets which include ammunition depots and shelters used by the terrorists.

Turkish authorities often use the word “neutralised” in their statements to imply the terrorists in question either surrendered or were killed or captured.

Turkish Chief of General Staff Yasar Guler, Land Forces Commander Umit Dundar, Air Forces Commander Hasan Kucukakyuz and Naval Forces Commander Adnan Ozbal also accompanied Akar.

‘This process will continue’

Following his visit, Akar held a telephone conversation with Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

“You made history in [Syria’s] Jarablus and Afrin cities and I know this process will continue like this after that,” Erdogan told Akar during the phone call.

In the last two years, Turkey has successfully carried out two counter-terrorist operations in Syria –– Operations Euphrates Shield and Olive Branch –– to eradicate the presence of YPG/PKK and Daesh terrorists near Turkey’s borders, and a third one is expected, east of the Euphrates River.

In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK –– listed as a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the US and the EU –– has been responsible for the deaths of some 40,000 people, including women and children.

The YPG is its Syrian branch.

Source: AA