Feb 19 2018

Turkey “neutralised” 1,641 militants in Afrin

Turkey’s military has “neutralised” 27 members of the People’s Protection Units (YPG) and Islamic State (ISIS), bringing the total to 1,641 since an operation in the Syrian enclave of Afrin began almost a month ago.

The armed forces said in a statement on Monday that it only targets terrorists and utmost care had been taken to avoid civilian casualties.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan ordered troops into Afrin, a mostly Kurdish region in Syria’s northeast, on Jan. 20 to battle Kurdish militants. Turkey says the PYD is indistinguishable from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), an internationally recognized terrorist group that has fought a three-decade war for autonomy from Turkey at the cost of about 40,000 lives, more of them Kurdish.

The military operation aims to establish security and stability along Turkey’s border with Syria and to protect the Syrian people from terrorism, oppression and cruelty, the Turkish statement said.

The YPG and its political wing, the Democratic Union Party (PYD), is a key ally of the United States in its war against ISIS in Syria.