A total of 342 terrorists have been neutralized since Turkey launched Operation Peace Spring in northern Syria, National Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said Friday.
The operation is continuing successfully as planned as it enters its 3rd day, the minister said.
To put concerns to rest about civilians being impacted by the operation and clashes with terrorists, Akar said: "In the planning and execution of the operation, only terrorists and their shelters, positions, weapons, ammunition depots and equipment are targeted."
"We are showing great attention and utmost sensitivity in order not to harm the historical, cultural, religious structures, infrastructure facilities of civilian, innocent people within the operation area, as well as friendly, allied country elements that may be present in the region," he said.
Akar also underscored that Turkey attaches great importance not only to its own security and nation, but also to the security of other religious and ethnic groups such as Kurds, Arabs, Assyrians, Christians and Yezidis living in the region.
Earlier in the day, the ministry had said a total of 277 terrorists had been neutralized since Wednesday within the scope of the operation.
"49 more PKKYPG terrorists were neutralized during night-long operations under the scope of Operation Peace Spring,"
The ministry also announced that a Turkish soldier was killed in clashes with the People's Protection Units (YPG), the PKK terrorist organization's Syrian offshoot, on Oct. 10. The fallen soldier was identified as Ahmet Topçu.
Turkey launched Operation Peace Spring, 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), on October 9 at 4 p.m.
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.