Turkey reports 100 ‘terrorists’ killed in Syria offensive
Recep Tayyip Erdogan was speaking a day after a ground operation against Kurdish fighters in northern Syria began.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said 109 “terrorists” have been killed since Ankara launched an offensive into Syria.
He also warned the EU not to call the operation an “invasion”, and renewed his threat to let Syrian refugees flood Europe.
He hit out after Finnish Prime Minister Antti Rinne, whose country currently holds the European Union’s rotating presidency, condemned the offensive and urged the cessation of hostilities.
Mr Erdogan was speaking to his ruling party officials, and stressed the need for Turkey to prevent the creation of a “terror state” along its border with Syria.
But reports on the ground did not indicate anything remotely close to such a large number of casualties.
Turkish forces began a ground offensive against Kurdish fighters in northern Syria on Wednesday under the cover of air strikes and artillery shelling.
Earlier on Thursday, Turkey’s state-run news agency Anadolu said Turkey-allied Syrian opposition fighters had “cleared of terror” two villages across the border in Syria – meaning there are no more Syrian Kurdish fighters in those areas.
Major Youssef Hammoud, a spokesman for Turkey-backed Syrian rebels, had earlier tweeted they were in Yabisa, near the town of Tal Abyad, describing it as “the first village to win freedom”.
They later entered and “cleared” Tel Fander.