By Esref Musa and Omer Koparan
ANKARA (AA) – At least 93 Syrian National Army (SNA) soldiers have been martyred since Turkey launched an anti-terror operation in northern Syria early October.
A total of 357 SNA soldiers have also been injured during the Operation Peace Spring, which was launched to eliminate YPG/PKK terrorists east of the Euphrates River in order to secure Turkey’s borders, aid in the safe return of Syrian refugees, and ensure Syria’s territorial integrity.
SNA forces have been searching the tunnels used by the YPG/PKK for terrorist attacks and neutralizing bombs planted by terrorists.
“SNA has achieved great success in clearing the terrorist organization from settlements by a truly heroic fight,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in a speech on Oct. 13.
Ankara agreed with Washington on Oct. 17 to pause its Syria operation for 120 hours to allow the withdrawal of YPG/PKK terrorists from the planned safe zone.
On Tuesday, Turkey’s Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin held a "historic" meeting in the Black Sea resort town of Sochi just hours before the pause was set to expire.
Ankara and Moscow reached a deal under which YPG/PKK terrorists will pull back 30 kilometers (18 miles) south of Turkey’s border with northern Syria within 150 hours, and security forces from Turkey and Russia will start to conduct joint patrols in the region.
On Wednesday, the YPG/PKK withdrawal from northern Syria started in line with Tuesday’s deal.
In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK — listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the European Union — has been responsible for deaths of 40,000 people, including women, children and infants. The YPG is the Syrian offshoot of the PKK.
* Writing by Havva Kara Aydin