Turkish military to hit YPG terrorists in Syria safe zone area after pause deadline

Published 22.10.2019 12:08
Updated 22.10.2019 12:58
Lt. Commander Nadide Şebnem Aktop addresses reporters at the Defense Ministry HQ in Ankara on Tuesday Oct. 22, 2019 (DHA Photo)
Lt. Commander Nadide Şebnem Aktop addresses reporters at the Defense Ministry HQ in Ankara on Tuesday Oct. 22, 2019 (DHA Photo)

The Turkish military will take action against all terrorists it encounters after the 10 p.m. pause deadline on Tuesday, Defense Ministry said.

The ministry made the announcement with less than 10 hours left for the pause.

Speaking to reporters at a daily briefing, Defense Ministry Spokeswoman Lieutenant Commander Nadide Şebnem Aktop told reporters that 136 vehicles have left the area since the pause started in northeastern Syria.

"Our units continue to carry out their observation missions in the areas they are deployed in, amid all security precautions. The activities of terrorist elements are controlled through radars and UAVs day and night," Lt. Aktop said, adding that the Turkish military is strictly abiding by the terms of the pause agreement.

Aktop said that the YPG terrorists have violated the pause deal 42 times, noting that the Turkish military reserves the right to self-defense.

"The violations made by the YPG are instantly shared with the U.S.," Aktop said.

Some 775 terrorists have been neutralized in Operation Peace Spring, in addition to the liberation of 2,200 square kilometer area, the spokeswoman added.

Turkish and U.S. delegations agreed on Thursday that Turkey will pause its counterterrorism operation in northern Syria for five days, during which time the YPG terrorists must withdraw from the proposed safe zone area.

Turkey on Oct. 9 launched Operation Peace Spring to eliminate the PKK's Syrian offshoot, the People's Protection Units (YPG) from northern Syria in order to secure Turkey's borders, aid in the safe return of Syrian refugees and ensure Syria's territorial integrity.

The operation 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. It is 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), and was launched on October 9.

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.

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