Turkish, Free Syrian forces liberate village in W.Afrin

Elias Hubbard
February 11, 2018

Ankara launched an air and ground offensive last month against Kurdish fighters in Syria's Afrin region on its border, opening a new front in the multi-sided Syrian war.

Two Turkish troops were killed Saturday when their helicopter crashed in Afrin, Syria, near the Turkish border, Turkish state news agency Anadolu reported.

Turkey said it launched the operation to target "terrorist organizations", including YPG forces.

The Turkish military had not made a statement but a spokesman for the Kurdish militia, Mustafa Bali, confirmed his fighters downed the chopper in Raju, northwest Afrin.

The Turkish government, in turn, tried to present its fight against YPG - effectively a branch of long-time enemy number one, the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) - as a battle against the Islamic State (IS).

Another 11 soldiers were wounded after the offensive's bloodiest day for Turkish military personnel, the army said. "We would like to see a ceasefire, the end of war in Syria, but the terrorists, I'm not sure they are in agreement".

Yildirim said the helicopter was on a mission in the Afrin region as part of Ankara's offensive dubbed Operation "Olive Branch". We are in a war.

Since the operation began, Turkish forces and the FSA have liberated a total of 47 zones, including 30 villages and 13 strategic mountains or hills.

Speaking at the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) Istanbul Provincial Consultation and Assessment Meeting, Erdoğan said that such losses were expected during times of war.

Geneva: Syrian and Russian airstrikes in rebel-held areas have killed 230 civilians in the past week, in some of the conflict's worst violence that may also constitute war crimes, the top United Nations human rights official said on Saturday.

The country's prime minister walked back on the comments soon after, saying the cause of the helicopter's crash was not yet clear.

It was not immediately possible to verify this figure.

President Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday that Turkey will strip the word "Turkish" from the name of its main medical association after the group publicly opposed the campaign.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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