ANKARA, May 10 (Xinhua) -- Turkey said on Tuesday its troops "neutralized" six members of Syria's Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) in northern Syria, as tension escalates after the killing of a Turkish police officer.
The YPG members were "neutralized" after they opened "harassment fire" into Turkey's Operation Euphrates Shield and Operation Olive Branch military zones, the Turkish Defense Ministry tweeted.
Turkish authorities often use the term "neutralized" to imply that "terrorists" are killed, wounded, or captured in security operations.
On Monday, the ministry said the Turkish forces had "neutralized" 12 members of the group.
Turkey's forces and the YPG members often exchange fire in the region. But the clashes intensified after the killing of a Turkish police officer on April 22, when the YPG attacked a police checkpoint in the Mare settlement in the Operation Euphrates Shield area with anti-tank weapons.
The Turkish army launched the Operation Euphrates Shield in 2016, Operation Olive Branch in 2018, Operation Peace Spring in 2019, and Operation Spring Shield in 2020 in northern Syria.
Turkey said the operations aim to eliminate terror threats and provide a safe zone that will facilitate the return of Syrian refugees to their homes.
Ankara sees the YPG as the Syrian branch of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), listed as a terror organization by Turkey for having been rebelling against the Turkish government for more than three decades. ■