By Faruk Zorlu and Meryem Goktas
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday called on the West to pay attention to children, women and civilians being "martyred" in Eastern Ghouta.
At least 78 civilians were killed after Bashar al-Assad regime forces struck targets in Eastern Ghouta’s Douma district in an attack, in which poison gas appears to have been used, according to the White Helmets civil defense agency.
“When will you [the West] turn around and look at the children, women and humans slaughtered and martyred in Eastern Ghouta so we can say 'they act fair'?,“ Erdogan said at the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party’s ordinary provincial congress in southeastern Siirt province.
“Shame on those who turn humanitarian tragedy in our region into their internal political accounts and their own benefits. Your democracy, human rights, your understanding of diplomacy is a shame,” he said.
Erdogan said at least 4,017 terrorists have been neutralized since the launch of Operation Olive Branch in northwestern Syria's Afrin.
Turkish authorities often use the word "neutralized" in their statements to imply that the terrorists in question either surrendered or were killed or captured.
Speaking at the ruling party congress in eastern Van province, Erdogan said the West does not react when children in Eastern Ghouta are martyred, but only when Turkey kills terrorists in Afrin.
He added that Turkey struck two blows to "the big game" with its Olive Branch and Euphrates Shield operations, which freed nearly 4,000 square kilometers area in northwestern Syria from terrorists.
Erodgan said Ankara with the two operations unmasked Daesh and PYD/PKK.
"Now that the terrorists have been unmasked, we can see the people hiding behind them."
Turkey on Jan. 20 launched Operation Olive Branch to remove YPG/PKK and Daesh terrorists from Afrin.
According to the Turkish General Staff, the operation aims to establish security and stability along Turkey's borders and the region as well as protect Syrians from terrorist cruelty and oppression.
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.
Erdogan said that the number of "neutralized" terrorists in northern Iraq reached 327.
Airstrikes on PKK targets in northern Iraq, where the terror group has its main base in the Mt. Qandil region, near the Iranian border, have been carried out regularly since July 2015, when the PKK resumed its armed terror campaign.
A total of 154 terrorists were neutralized in Turkey's counter-terrorism operations in eastern Gabar mountain region, Mt. Cudi area in the southeastern Sirnak, and eastern Tunceli, the president said.
*Mehmet Tosun from Van province of Turkey contributed to the storyAnadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.