SIRNAK, Turkiye

Turkiye has neutralized 18 terrorists since a YPG/PKK terror attack killed five civilians in northern Syria on Thursday, the nation’s defense minister said on Friday.

“Our operations continue and we expect the number (of terrorists neutralized) to increase in the coming hours,” Hulusi Akar said during his meeting with troops in the southeastern Sirnak province near border with Syria and Iraq.

The rocket attack by the YPG/PKK terrorists in the Afrin city center also injured 34 civilians, he said.

Accompanied with senior military officials, Akar met with commanders serving on and beyond the border via video conference.

“The attacks came from the Tel Rifat region. We have agreements with the countries that are our interlocutors on this issue. They have a commitment to remove the terrorists there. We expect these countries to fulfill their commitments as soon as possible,” the defense chief said.

In March 2018, the Turkish forces and the Syrian National Army managed, through Operation Olive Branch, to liberate the Afrin region from the grip of YPG/PKK terrorists after controlling it for six years.

Since the liberation of Afrin, the terrorist group has continued to target it from Tal Rifaat, where a Turkish-Russian agreement signed in October 2019 requires its withdrawal.

In its more than 35-year terror campaign against Turkiye, the PKK – listed as a terror organization by Turkiye, the US, and EU – has been responsible for the deaths of nearly 40,000 people, including women, children, and infants. The YPG is the PKK’s Syrian offshoot.

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