The total number of People's Protection Units (YPG) terrorists neutralized in Turkey's Operation Peace Spring in northern Syria has reached 228, the Ministry of National Defense said Thursday.
Turkish authorities often use the word "neutralized" in their statements to imply that the terrorists in question either surrendered or were killed or captured.
The Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) neutralized five YPG terrorists based in the Qamishli area from the border province of Mardin on Thursday morning.
The Defense Ministry said later Thursday that 19 YPG terrorists had been neutralized in Ras al-Ayn city.
The operation liberated 11 villages in Tal Abyad town and Ras al-Ayn city from the YPG on Thursday.
Turkey does not plan to cross 30-kilometer (19-mile) mark in the operation, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said Thursday.
Speaking to CNN's Turkish Television Channel, Çavuşoğlu said: "The purpose of the operation is to remove terrorists from this area. The range of rockets coming to Akçakale [a district of Turkey's southeastern Şanlıurfa province] from Nusaybin [in Syria] is about 30 kilometers."
Responding to a question, Çavuşoğlu said the threat disappears beyond 30 kilometers south, and Turkey does not plan to go beyond the 30-km mark.
Turkey plans to widen the safe zone, not limiting it to 120 km (74 miles), Çavuşoğlu said. "The whole border [between Turkey and Syria] must be made a safe zone," he added.
Çavuşoğlu also said that the terrorist YPG in Syria holds Daesh terrorists as a weapon.
Mardin and the neighboring southeastern province of Şanlıurfa came under YPG shelling after Turkey launched Operation Peace Spring, resulting in six civilian deaths, including an infant and three children.
The operation, the third in a series of cross-border anti-terror operations in northern Syria targeting terrorists affiliated with Daesh and the PKK's Syrian offshoot the People's Protection Units (YPG), was launched on Oct. 9 at 4 p.m. (1100 GMT).
The operation, conducted in line with the country's right to self-defense borne out of international law and U.N. Security Council resolutions, aims to establish a terror-free safe zone for Syrians return in the area east of the Euphrates River controlled by the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which is dominated by YPG terrorists.
The PKK — listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the European Union — has waged a terror campaign against Turkey for more than 30 years, resulting in the deaths of nearly 40,000 people, including women, children and infants.
Turkey has long decried the threat from terrorists east of the Euphrates in northern Syria, pledging military action to prevent the formation of a "terrorist corridor" there.
Since 2016, Turkey's Euphrates Shield and Olive Branch operations in northwestern Syria have liberated the region from YPG/PKK and Daesh terrorists, making it possible for nearly 400,000 Syrians who fled the violence to return home.
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