By Sinan Uslu
At least 4,464 terrorists have been “neutralized” since the launch of Operation Olive Branch in Syria, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday.
“The number of terrorists neutralized so far in Afrin alone has reached 4,464. In addition to that, 403 [were neutralized] in northern Iraq and 350 terrorists in domestic operations,” Erdogan said during an iftar program in capital Ankara while addressing deputies of ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party.
The president, who is also the party’s chairman, said these figures were reached within the past five months since the operations began in the region.
Turkish authorities often use the word “neutralized” in their statements to imply that the terrorists in question either surrendered or were killed or captured.
On Jan. 20, Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch to clear YPG/PKK-Daesh terrorists from Afrin, northwestern Syria.
According to the Turkish General Staff, the operation aims to establish security and stability along Turkey’s borders and the region as well as to protect Syrians from the oppression and cruelty of terrorists.
The operation is being carried out under the framework of Turkey’s rights based on international law, UN Security Council resolutions, its self-defense rights under the UN charter, and respect for Syria’s territorial integrity, it said.