By Zafer Fatih Beyaz
ANKARA (AA) - Turkey has neutralized a total of 1,709 regime elements in operations in Idlib, northwestern Syria over the past 17 days, security sources said.
Turkish authorities often use the term "neutralized" to imply the terrorists in question surrendered or were killed or captured.
The Turkish Armed Forces have destroyed a total of 55 tanks, three helicopters, 18 armored vehicles, 29 howitzers, 21 military vehicles, four Docka anti-aircraft guns, six ammunition depots, and seven mortars in the operations, said the sources on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on speaking to the media.
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 1,300 civilians have been killed in attacks by the regime and Russian forces in the de-escalation zone since then as the cease-fire continues to be violated.
The de-escalation zone is currently home to 4 million civilians, including hundreds of thousands displaced in recent years by regime forces throughout the war-torn country.
More than 1 million Syrians have moved near the Turkish border due to intense attacks.
Since the eruption of the bloody civil war in Syria in 2011, Turkey has taken in some 3.7 million Syrians who fled their country, making it the world’s top refugee-hosting country.