Two Turkish soldiers were killed in northern Syria on April 7 during an attack by the People’s Protection Units (YPG), Turkey's Defense Ministry said.
The attack took place in a region where Turkey carried out a cross-border operation dubbed “Operation Olive Branch” in 2018 to drive the YPG from Afrin. Turkey regards the U.S.-backed YPG as a terrorist organization due to its links with the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).
The Defense Ministry statement said the Turkish army opened fire in retaliation against YPG targets and at least three militants were “neutralized.”
Turkish authorities use the term "neutralize" to imply the militants in question surrendered or were killed or captured.
“In the attack that was undertaken by the PKK/YPG terror organization in the Operation Olive Branch area, two of our heroic comrades have been martyred, and according to the initial reports, at least three PKK/YPG terrorists have been neutralized as a result of the retaliation,” the Turkish Defense Ministry's statement read.
2️⃣ Bölgede belirlenen terör hedefleri ateş altına alınmaya devam edilmektedir. Şehit olan Kahraman silah arkadaşlarımıza Allah’tan rahmet, kıymetli ailelerine, Türk Silahlı Kuvvetlerimize ve asil milletimize başsağlığı ve sabır dileriz.— T.C. Millî Savunma Bakanlığı (@tcsavunma) April 7, 2021
The Turkish army launched Operation Euphrates Shield in 2016, Operation Olive Branch in 2018, Operation Peace Spring in 2019, and Operation Spring Shield in 2020 in northern Syria, in order to create a YPG-free zone along its border within the neighboring country.