525 terrorists neutralized so far in Operation Peace Spring, Erdogan says
The number of People's Protection Units (YPG) terrorists neutralized during the Operation Peace Spring in northern Syria has reached 525, the National Defense Ministry said Sunday, Trend reports citing Daily Sabah.
Speaking to the reporters at a briefing about the operation, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Sunday that 26 terrorists had been captured and 24 others surrendered.
The president said a total of 109-square-kilometers of land was liberated from terrorists by Turkish military and Syrian National Army (SNA) so far.
Erdogan said the terrorists were unable to stand against Turkish forces and resorted to striking civilian targets instead.
"Civilian settlements were hit by a total of 652 mortar shells, half of them hit Mardin's Nusaybin and Kiziltepe districts. They are looking to inflict civilian casualties," he said.
Erdogan said 18 civilians, most of them children, were killed and 147 others were injured in attacks, while two Turkish and 16 SNA soldiers were killed in combat.
Speaking about critics of the operation, Erdogan said the operation helped Turkey realize who its real allies were.
"Some countries named this operation an 'invasion.' We have received threats of economic sanctions. Those who think they will deter Turkey will threats are wrong," he said.
"Meanwhile, other nations want to mediate between us and the terrorists, it is really difficult to understand what sort of leaders they have. Since when do governments sit at the table with terrorists? There is a terrorist group against Turkey," he said.
The president told Turkey was determined to halt formation of any terror corridor along its borders.
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.