ANKARA, May 9 (Xinhua) -- Turkey said on Monday it had "neutralized" 12 members of Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) in northern Syria, as tension escalates between the two sides after the killing of a Turkish soldier.
The YPG members, who opened "harassment fire" in Turkey's Operation Peace Spring, Operation Euphrates Shield and Operation Olive Branch military zones, were "neutralized" by Turkish commandos, Turkey's Defense Ministry tweeted.
Turkish authorities often use the term "neutralize" to imply "terrorists" were killed, wounded, or captured in security operations.
Turkish forces and the YPG members often exchange fire on the Syrian border.
The tension between YPG and the Turkish military quickened after the YPG attacked a police checkpoint in Mare settlement in the Operation Euphrates Shield zone with anti-tank weapons on April 22, killing one Turkish police officer.
On Saturday, the Turkish Defense Ministry said Turkey had killed 11 YPG members in northern Syria.
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.
Turkish authorities say the operations aim to eliminate terror threats against Turkey 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).
The PKK, listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, has been rebelling against the Turkish government for more than three decades.