UPDATE - Turkish security forces 'neutralized' 942 terrorists since Jan. 1

UPDATE - Turkish security forces 'neutralized' 942 terrorists since Jan. 1

'One of the largest' ammunition depots belonging to terrorist group PKK seized in Operation Claw-Lock region, says National Defense Ministry official

ADDS MORE INFORMATION

By Diyar Guldogan

Türkiye has "neutralized" a total of 942 PKK/YPG terrorists since Jan. 1, including ones hiding out across the border in Iraq and northern Syria, the National Defense Ministry said on Thursday.

"Fifty terrorists have been neutralized in the last week, including Iraq and northern Syria, with the strategy of eliminating terrorism at its source, which we resolutely implement," a National Defense Ministry official told reporters at a background briefing in the capital Ankara.

The total number of terrorists neutralized during the year has now reached 942, he added.

Turkish authorities use the term “neutralize” to imply that the terrorists in question surrendered or were killed or captured.

PKK terrorists often hide out across the border to plot terrorist attacks, while the PKK/YPG – the group’s Syrian branch – has sought to establish a “terrorist corridor” in border areas of Syria, close to Türkiye. Türkiye has launched several operations across the border, in northern Syria, to block the terrorist group’s plans.

The ministry official said that "one of the largest" ammunition depots belonging to the terrorist group PKK was seized in the Operation Claw-Lock region in northern Iraq this week, and a total of 15,400 pieces of anti-aircraft ammunition were confiscated.

In its more than 35-year terror campaign against Türkiye, the PKK – listed as a terrorist organization by Türkiye, the US, and EU – has been responsible for the deaths of over 40,000 people, including women, children, and infants. The YPG is its Syrian offshoot.

Terrorist groups continue to attack civilians and military units from other regions, especially in northern Syria, the official said.

"As of Jan. 1, a total of 83 harassment incidents and attacks were carried out by the terrorist group (PKK/YPG) in our operation areas, and the number of terrorists neutralized reached 699," he added.

On illegal crossings into Türkiye, he said thanks to additional effective measures, this year 4,468 people, including 347 terrorists, who tried to cross Türkiye's borders illegally were caught since Jan. 1. Nearly 132,000 were prevented before they crossed the border.

Türkiye has been a key transit point for irregular migrants who want to cross into Europe to start new lives, especially those fleeing war and persecution.

The country, which already hosts 4 million refugees, more than any other country in the world, is taking new measures at its borders to prevent a fresh influx of migrants.


- Artillery shells found off Black Sea coast

About the controlled detonation of 28 artillery shells found off the Black Sea coast of Istanbul, the official said underwater exploration activities were carried out in an area of ​​​​4,200 square meters.

"A total of 28 artillery shells, which are considered to be from World War II, were identified.

"11 of the ammunition in question, which could be removed, were brought to the Turkish Underwater Defense Group Command (SAS), and 17 of them were destroyed on the spot yesterday in a controlled manner," he added.

National Defense Ministry sources, who asked not to be named due to restrictions on speaking to the media, said there is no threat in the region.

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