The Turkish National Defense Ministry announced on November 25 that its forces had “neutralized” 17 fighters of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in northeastern Syria.
The Turkish MoD usually uses the term “neutralize” to imply that the fighters in question were either killed, captured or surrendered to its forces.
According to the ministry, the fighters were naturalized by commando units while attempting to infiltrate into Turkish-occupied areas in northeastern Syria. The fighters were quickly targeted with mortars and howitzers.
Security sources told the Anadolu Agency that a drone detected the fighters while they were digging tunnels before launching the attack.
“After 14 terrorists were neutralized by mortar and howitzers, three more terrorists were found hiding in the area,” the state-run agency quoted the sources as saying.
The Turkish MoD’s claims are questionable to say the least. The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which contain elements of the YPG and the PKK, didn’t report any losses in their ranks.
These claims may have been a response to a recent battle near the town of Ain Issa, in which the SDF foiled an attack by Turkish forces and killed more than 30 Syrian militants.
Turkish forces invaded northeastern Syria last year and managed to occupy a long strip between northern Raqqa and northern al-Hasakah within a few weeks. The SDF showed fierce resistance. However, it sustained heavy losses.
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