Turkey, Politics

1,230 terrorists neutralized in N.Syria op: President

Not possible to give any date in military operations such as Peace Spring, says Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Yildiz Aktas, Mehmet Tosun   | 26.11.2019
1,230 terrorists neutralized in N.Syria op: President

ANKARA

As of Monday, 1,230 terrorists have been neutralized in Turkey's anti-terror operation in northern Syria, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said.

Speaking to journalists traveling with him on the plane on Monday following meetings in Qatar, Erdogan said Turkey's fight against terrorism does not have a specific schedule.

"It is not possible to give any date in such military operations," he said, referring to Turkey's anti-terror operation in northern Syria east of the Euphrates River.

Erdogan also reminded that Turkey has given 13 martyrs during the operation, while there were 241 martyrs from the Syrian National Army, and 22 civilian casualties.

"We need to continue this fight decisively. Our priority now is to eliminate the harassment of the terrorist organization," he said, adding that Turkey's presence in northern Syria was "partially disturbing" the U.S. and the regime in Syria in general.

Turkish president also reiterated that Turkey is fighting against the YPG/PYD terrorists, not Kurds, noting that accusing Kurds is an "insult to our Kurdish brothers and sisters" living both in Turkey and Syria.

Operation Peace Spring, launched on Oct. 9, aims to eliminate the terrorist YPG/PKK from northern Syria in order to secure Turkey’s borders, aid in the safe return of Syrian refugees, and ensure Syria’s territorial integrity.

Following two separate deals with Washington and Moscow, the operation has been paused to allow the withdrawal of YPG/PKK terrorists from a planned northern Syria safe zone.

Turkey wants to repatriate some two million of Syrian refugees it is currently hosting to the zone after clearing it of terrorists.

In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK -- listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and EU -- has been responsible for the deaths of over 40,000 people, including women, children and infants. The YPG is the PKK’s Syrian offshoot.

Meetings in Qatar

"We have strong political, economic and strategic relations with Qatar," Erdogan said, adding that the two countries had a "productive work" during the meetings in Doha.

Erdogan also said Qatar has always been by Turkey's side in attacks against the country, just like in the 2016 defeated coup attempt.

He stressed that Turkey was also by Qatar's side during its hard times, such as the blockade.

    In mid-2017, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt all abruptly severed ties with Doha, accusing it of supporting terrorist groups.

    Qatar, for its part, has vociferously denied the allegation, describing the Saudi-led embargo against it as a violation of international law.

Erdogan also noted that there are around 500 Turkish companies operating in Qatar, while the total value of the projects undertaken by Turkish contracting companies in the country has reached around $18.5 billion.

* Writing by Jeyhun Aliyev

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