Turkey, Politics

4,000 terrorists neutralized in Afrin: Erdogan

Turkish President Erdogan says 4,000 terrorists neutralized in Afrin during Operation Olive Branch

07.04.2018
4,000 terrorists neutralized in Afrin: Erdogan

ANKARA

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday that 4,000 terrorists have been neutralized during Operation Olive Branch in northwestern Syria's Afrin.

Speaking at the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party's congress in the southwestern province of Denizli, Erdogan said: "4,000 terrorists have been neutralized in Afrin as I was recently informed."

"I have not yet counted the terrorists neutralized in Turkey, abroad and in northern Iraq. If we add them, this figure may reach 4,200 or 4,300," he added.

Turkish authorities often use the word "neutralized" in their statements to imply that the terrorists in question either surrendered or were killed or captured.

On Jan. 20, Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch to clear YPG/PKK-Daesh terrorists from Afrin, northwestern Syria.

According to the Turkish General Staff, the operation aims to establish security and stability along Turkey’s borders and the region as well as to protect Syrians from the oppression and cruelty of terrorists.

The operation is being carried out under the framework of Turkey's rights based on international law, UN Security Council resolutions, its self-defense rights under the UN charter, and respect for Syria's territorial integrity, it said.

The military also said only terror targets are being destroyed and that "utmost care" is being taken to avoid harming civilians.

Erdogan also slammed France for supporting terror.

He said: "France aids, abets and supports terror and they host terrorists at Elysee Palace. You can't explain it and you can't get rid of terrorism. As long as the West feeds these terrorists, it will sink."

In a meeting in late March with a terrorist PYD/PKK-led SDF delegation at the Elysee Palace, French President Emmanuel Macron assured the SDF of French support against Daesh, and also claimed that the SDF had “no operational link with this terrorist group,” meaning the PKK.

Turkey maintains SDF is the Syrian offshoot of terrorist PKK, listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S., and the EU. In over 30 years of violence against Turkey, more than 40,000 people have been killed, including women and children.

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