Eighty terrorists were neutralized last month in cross-border and domestic anti-terror operations, the Defense Ministry said Sunday.
“Eighty terrorists were neutralized, while 52 posts, shelters and cellars were destroyed as part of cross-border and domestic anti-terror operations over the past month,” the Defense Ministry said during a meeting conducted remotely due to the coronavirus pandemic.
It was stated that a large number of weapons and explosives were seized in border areas as security forces continue to work to establish stability.
“Border safety is ensured 24/7 by our units. All kinds of attacks targeting our border units will be answered within the scope of the right to self-defense without hesitation,” the ministry pointed out.
A heavy blow was dealt to terrorist organizations' smuggling activities used to finance their acts of terrorism.
The ministry also reiterated that Russian and Turkish armies conducted patrols between March 15 and 23 within the scope of the March 5 agreement in Syria’s northwestern Idlib province and that the third patrol would take place in coordination if weather conditions allowed. Some 38 joint patrols have been conducted since the Sochi deal, the ministry underlined.
“The application of the cease-fire and of articles of the agreement are followed closely in coordination with the Russian Federation,” it was stated.
The cease-fire was reached in Moscow after talks were conducted to contain the escalating conflict. The relationship was strained prior to the agreement, with the two sides trading accusations of violating the Sochi deal, which created a buffer zone and allowed for the deployment of 12 Turkish observation posts. Several previous deals to end the fighting in Idlib have collapsed.
Since April 2018, the attacks on the last opposition stronghold dramatically intensified and caused new waves of refugee flows to move toward the Turkish border, putting the country, which already hosts 3.7 million Syrian refugees, into a difficult position.
Currently, Turkish soldiers are stationed in the region to protect the local population and counterterrorism groups. Still, despite the military escalation, Ankara also has been putting forth efforts to keep diplomatic channels active with Russia in hope of a finding political solution, urging the country to uphold the peace agreements and ensure an immediate cease-fire.
As part of the agreement, all military activities will end in Idlib and a security corridor will be established 6 kilometers (3.7 miles) deep to the north and to the south of the M4 highway.
Furthermore, 43 YPG/PKK terrorists trying to infiltrate into the northern Operation Peace Spring area were neutralized by the Turkish army while another 16 were eliminated trying to carry out an attack on the Operation Euphrates Shield area.
Terrorists continue to flee as a result of Turkey's operations, conducted both inside and outside the country. Morale is low, according to the testimonies of its members, with many attempting to escape the organization.
As of March 2020, 67 terrorists had surrendered to security forces.
Meanwhile, for over 210 days, dozens of parents of terrorists have been staging a sit-in protest outside the offices of the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), a political group accused of having links to the YPG/PKK terror group.
In its more than 40-year campaign against Turkey, the PKK, listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the European Union, has been responsible for the deaths of 40,000 people. The YPG is the PKK's Syrian offshoot.
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