Turkey will continue its fight against terrorism without any pause, the chief of the Turkish General Staff said on Saturday.
“We resolutely continue our fight against terrorism. We will continue this fight until the last terrorist is neutralized,” Gen. Hulusi Akar said after witnessing the Beyaz Firtina (White Storm) Military Exercise conducted in the East Mediterranean and the Aegean waters.
The biennial military drill started on May 14 and will end on May 25, according to a statement by the Turkish army.
Akar said that operations against terrorist organizations were being carried out in east and southeast Anatolia, as well as Syria.
“Our activities in [the Syrian cities of] Idlib, Afrin, Al-Bab and the east of Euphrates are ongoing,” Akar said, adding that there were many improvised explosives and mines in the areas cleared of terrorists in Afrin.
Turkey on Jan. 20 launched Operation Olive Branch to remove YPG/PKK and Daesh terrorists from northwestern Afrin. On March 18, Turkish troops and Free Syrian Army members liberated the town of Afrin, on the 58th day of the operation.
After liberating the area from the terror group, the Turkish military has also been pursuing efforts to search and destroy handmade explosives and mines planted by the YPG/PKK terrorists.
Akar also praised the Free Syrian Army for its bravery and success.
Speaking on the recent developments in the Aegean Sea, Akar said Turkey wanted to carry out its activities in compliance with the international law, bilateral agreements and navigation rules.
“We always say if dialogue and cooperation cannot solve the issue, we will use our powers without hesitation,” Akar warned.
In April, Greek youths tried to plant a flag on an islet near Didim, southwestern Turkey, the latest in a string of similar incidents.
In February, a Turkish patrol boat rammed into a Greek coast guard patrol boat near the Kardak islets in the southeastern Aegean.
In January, the Turkish Coast Guard blocked Greece’s defense minister from approaching Kardak to lay a wreath there.
A decades-long dispute between Turkey and Greece over the uninhabited Aegean isletsbrought the two countries to the brink of an armed conflict in 1996.