Turkey 'neutralises' 50 YPG members in Syria: Ministry
Ankara, April 24 (IANS) Turkish military has launched an operation against Syria's Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) in northern Syria in response to the killing of a Turkish police officer, Turkey's Defence Ministry said in a statement.
At least 50 YPG members were "neutralised" in the ongoing operations in the region so far, it added on Saturday.
Turkish authorities often use the term "neutralised" to imply "terrorists" killed, wounded, or captured in security operations, Xinhua news agency reported.
Turkey has launched the operation after YPG attacked a police checkpoint in Mare settlement in the Operation Euphrates Shield area with anti-tank weapons and killed Turkish police officer Aytac Altinors on Friday, the statement said.
The YPG fired at Turkish military bases in northern Syria at the same time when the police checkpoint attack was launched, it added.
Turkey's forces and the YPG members often exchange fire on the Syrian border, and the tension has increased in the region since early January, after three Turkish soldiers were killed in a bomb explosion on Turkey-Syria border.
The Turkish Army launched Operation Euphrates Shield in 2016, Operation Olive Branch in 2018, Operation Peace Spring in 2019, and Operation Spring Shield in 2020 in northern Syria.
Turkish authorities say the operations aim to eliminate terror threats against Turkey and provide a safe zone that will facilitate the return of Syrian refugees to their homes.
Ankara sees the YPG as the Syrian branch of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).
The PKK, listed as a terrorist organisation by Turkey, has been rebelling against the Turkish government for more than three decades.