By Faruk Zorlu
ANKARA (AA) - A total of 63 Assad regime elements have been neutralized in Idlib de-escalation zone, northwestern Syria, Turkey's National Defense Ministry said on Friday.
"According to the latest information received from various sources in Idlib region, 63 Assad regime elements have been neutralized", the ministry said on Twitter.
Turkish authorities often use the term "neutralized" to imply the terrorists in question surrendered or were killed or captured.
Idlib has been a stronghold of the opposition and anti-government armed groups since the outbreak of the Syrian civil war in 2011.
In September 2018, Turkey and Russia agreed to turn Idlib into a de-escalation zone in which acts of aggression are expressly prohibited.
But more than 1,800 civilians have been killed in attacks by regime and Russian forces since then, flouting both the 2018 cease-fire and a new one that started on Jan. 12.
Syrian regime attacks in recent weeks on Turkish troops stationed in Idlib has further sparked tensions in the region.
On Monday, five Turkish troops were martyred and five injured in an attack by Assad regime forces in Idlib, following a similar attack last week martyring seven soldiers and a civilian contractor working with the Turkish military.
The Turkish troops are in Idlib -- nominally a cease-fire zone, under a deal between Turkey and Russia -- as part of an anti-terror and peace mission.
Turkey has since retaliated for both attacks, hitting scores of targets and neutralizing over 200 Assad regime troops.