By Esin Isik
ANKARA (AA) - Turkish Armed Forces "neutralized" 21 more PYD/PKK and Daesh terrorists in northwestern Syria on Thursday as part of the ongoing Afrin operation, said the Turkish military.
“According to the information received from the region, 21 PKK/KCK/PYD-YPG and Daesh terrorists were neutralized as part of the Operation Olive Branch. The number of terrorists killed since the beginning of the operation increased to 811,” the General Staff said in a statement.
Turkish authorities often use the word "neutralized" in their statements to imply that the terrorists in question either surrendered or were killed or captured.
The statement added that Turkish air raids also destroyed 14 targets of the terrorist groups, including shelters, barracks, weapon depots and positions.
On Jan. 20, Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch along with the Free Syrian Army (FSA) to clear PYD/PKK and Daesh terrorists from Afrin, northwestern Syria.
The operation also 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, according to Turkish military.
The military also said only terror targets are being destroyed and that "utmost care and sensitivity" is being put on avoiding harming civilians.
Afrin has been a major hideout for the PYD/PKK since July 2012, when the Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria left the city to the terror group without a fight.