Two Turkish soldiers were martyred on Saturday after a Turkish military helicopter (ATAK) was downed in the southern Hatay province during Operation Olive Branch.
"One of our helicopters was downed just recently. These things will happen, we are in a war. We might lose a helicopter, but they'll pay the price for this,” Erdoğan said during a Justice and Development (AK) Party provincial meeting in Istanbul.
"Our security forces are engaging in a great fight. We destroyed many of their missile depots yesterday," he added.
00,24 dk 10 Şubat 2018 Yeni Şafak Turkish military destroys 36 terror targets in Syria’s Afrin
In a statement, the military said the Turkish Armed Forces had destroyed 36 PKK/KCK/PYD-YPG and Daesh terrorist targets and "neutralized" 79 more terrorists in early Saturday airstrikes.
Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım also confirmed the incident in a speech on Saturday, noting that "we have no evidence of any outside interference that may have resulted in the downing of the helicopter."
At least 1,141 PKK/KCK/PYD-YPG and Daesh terrorists have been neutralized since the beginning of Operation Olive Branch in Syria's Afrin.
The Turkish Armed Forces destroyed 36 terrorist targets and neutralized 79 more terrorists in early Saturday air strikes.
On Jan. 20, Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch to clear terrorists from Afrin, northwestern Syria.
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Over 1,140 terrorists 'neutralized' since launch of Operation Olive Branch
At least 1,141 PKK/KCK/PYD-YPG and Daesh terrorists have been "neutralized" since the beginning of Operation Olive Branch in Syria's Afrin, the Turkish General Staff said Saturday. Turkish authorities often use the word "neutralized" in their statements to imply the terrorists in question either surrendered or were killed or captured. In a statement, the military said the Turkish Armed Forces had destroyed 36 PKK/KCK/PYD-YPG and Daesh terrorist targets and "neutralized" 79 more terrorists in early Saturday air strikes. PYD/PKK controls Syrian energyOn Jan. 20, Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch to clear PKK/KCK/PYD-YPG and 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 terrorist oppression and cruelty. 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. The military also said only terror targets are being destroyed and the "utmost care" is being taken to avoid harming civilians.
Turkish FM criticizes world powers' stance on Afrin op.
The Turkish foreign minister on Friday questioned the international community’s stance on the recently launched Operation Olive Branch in northwestern Syria’s Afrin province.Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said: “When we launched Operation Euphrates Shield against Daesh, no country said ‘Please mind the civilians, please end it as soon as possible. Why did you launch it?’ But when we began an operation against PYD/PKK, they began to say ‘We understand your security concerns but mind this, mind that. Make it short, mind the civilians.’ They also began a defamation campaign.”Speaking at a conference titled "Turkey’s Foreign Policy Vision" in Istanbul’s Yıldız Technical University hosted by the Freedom and Justice Association, Çavuşoğlu said Turkey follows a proactive and humanitarian foreign policy.“With Turkey’s proactive policy, we have become country with a say in the world and became an important actor,” he added.Regarding Turkey’s continuing Afrin operation, Çavuşoğlu said: “It is one of the priorities of our foreign policy to fight against all kinds of terror groups not only within but also abroad. It doesn’t matter whether it is the PKK, Daesh or FETÖ [Fetullah Terror Organization].”“Our operations in Turkey, in Syria are not against our brothers/sisters living in the region. Our operations in Iraq against the PKK are not against the locals […] Today, Turkey hosts 350,000 Syrian Kurds. Though the PYD controls about 25 percent of the Syrian land, none of these Kurds [in Turkey] want to return to that region. Once our Operation Euphrates Shield was complete, nearly 100,000 Syrian brothers/sisters alone returned to that region,” he said.Turkey on Jan. 20 launched Operation Olive Branch to remove PYD/PKK and Daesh terrorists from Afrin.According to Turkish General Staff, the operation aims to establish security and stability along Turkish borders and the region as well as to protect the Syrian people 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’s decisions, self-defense rights under the UN charter and respect for Syria's territorial integrity, it said.The military has also said that only terrorist targets are being destroyed and "utmost importance" is being given to not harm any civilians.Afrin has been a major hideout for the PYD/PKK since July 2012 when the Assad regime in Syria left the city to the terror group without putting up a fight.