By Cankut Tasdan
Chief of General Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar said the terrorist organization PKK has lately suffered heavy casualties in counter-terror operations carried out across the country.
According to a statement by the Turkish General Staff on Sunday, Akar on Saturday paid a visit to eastern Elazig, Tunceli, and Malatya provinces to inspect troops taking part in anti-terror operations.
Akar was accompanied by Commander of the Turkish Land Forces Gen. Yasar Guler and Turkish Air Forces Commander Gen. Hasan Kucukakyuz.
Speaking during the visit, Akar said the Turkish army had recently dealt a heavy blow to the PKK. "The terror operations will continue nonstop, day and night, in summer and winter," the army chief said.
The PKK -- listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU -- waged a terror campaign against Turkey for more than 30 years and has been responsible for the death of nearly 40,000 people.
More than 1,200 Turkish security personnel and civilians, including a number of women and children, have been killed since July 2015 alone when the group resumed its armed campaign against the country.
Also on Sunday, Akar, accompanied by Guler and Kucukakyuz, visited southern Hatay province and Iskenderun district to inspect troops, according to the military statement.
Many troops in Hatay province, on the border with Syria, are taking part in Operation Olive Branch.
Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch on Jan. 20 to clear terrorist groups from Afrin, northwestern Syria, amid growing threats from the region.
On March 18, Turkish-backed troops liberated the town of Afrin, a major hideout for the terrorist organization PYD/PKK since 2012.
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, said Turkish military.
The military also said only terror targets are being destroyed and the "utmost care" is being taken to not harm civilians.
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