Turkish soldiers killed during Afrin operation

Turkish soldiers killed during Afrin operation

Turkey's prime minister says Turkish troops have captured a strategic village in the Kurdish-held enclave in northwestern Syria, tightening the grip on the area in the sixth week of its offensive on the area.

The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces alliance said the Turkish raids targeted pro-government positions.

The SDF did not say where, or give a death toll, but the Observatory said at least 36 people had been killed.

Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch, its second military intervention in Syia since 2011, after Washington said it would set up a border force comprising 30,000 Kurdish militants near Turkish soil.

The Syrian regime has chosen to ally itself with the Kurdish YPG in its fight against Turkey in Afrin, despite being at odds elsewhere in Syria.

In January 2018, Turkey launched an offensive called "Olive Branch" on Syria's Afrin Kurds-majority, on the pretext of protecting its boarders from the People's Protection Units (YPG) which Ankara views as "terrorists".

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As per a report by Reuters, the Syrian Observatory said that it was the third time in the last 48 hours, that the Turkish warplanes hit the forces in Kafr Jina of Afrin.

They came after Turkish raids on other parts of the enclave killed 14 pro-government fighters on Thursday and four more on Friday, the monitor said.

This is while U.S. officials regard the YPG as the most effective fighting force against the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group in northern Syria, and have substantially increased their weaponry and technology support to the group.

The military also said only terror targets are being destroyed and that "utmost care" is being taken to avoid harming civilians.

Two members of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) were also killed and some are wounded, while anti-aircraft weapons and the YPG personnel using them were neutralized as a result of heavy strikes, he added. The Observatory said the Turkish army was in control of about 70 percent of the town.

Ankara says YPG is a terrorist extension of Kurdistan Workers' Party which has waged an insurgency against the Turkish state.

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