By Selami Kucukoglu
TUNCELI, Turkey (AA) - More than 400 YPG/PKK terrorists left the terror group in 2019, said Turkey's interior minister on Saturday.
While the participation in the YPG/PKK terror group was 5,554 in 2014, this number dropped to 136 in 2019, said Suleyman Soylu in an event he participated in the eastern Turkish province of Tunceli.
Stressing the disintegration in the terror group, Soylu said over 400 YPG/PKK terrorists left the group last year, either voluntarily or through persuasion.
"We are currently in touch with over 5,000 families to pull off their children from the terror group. We have brought 40 terror group members through persuasion, except those voluntarily surrendered since the beginning of the year,” he said. He added that he expects this number to exceed 300 during this year.
In 2019 alone, 273 members of the terror group surrendered after being persuaded by their families, he added.
In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK -- listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and EU -- has been responsible for the deaths of 40,000 people, including women and children. The YPG is the PKK's Syrian offshoot.
* Writing by Fahri Aksut in Ankara.