Published: Sat, March 03, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Turkish soldiers martyred, 13 wounded in Afrin

Turkish soldiers martyred, 13 wounded in Afrin

In addition, 95 percent of residential areas on a 615 square-kilometer land have been retaken, he added.

On Thursday, eight Turkish soldiers were martyred as a Turkish-led operation continued in the region, according to two separate statements from the Turkish General Staff.

Turkey launched an offensive into Afrin in January 2018 against the People's Protection Units (YPG) which it considers a militant arm of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

However, in late 2014, the USA began arming the YPG as an ally on the ground under the pretext of fighting Daesh.

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Shortly after, it issued a second statement in which it announced that three more soldiers had been killed as well as six wounded, without giving details of the circumstances. "All my condolences to their loved ones", Turkish Presidential Spokesperson İbrahim Kalın said on Twitter.

The latest casualties bring the number of Turkish soldiers killed since the launch of "Operation Olive Branch" to at least 40.

The Turkish military declined to comment on the Observatory report, but the Turkish state-run Anadolu news agency reported on Friday that Turkish attack helicopters had killed nine YPG fighters in the west of Afrin.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has repeatedly said that Afrin should be cleared of "terrorists", and demanded the deployment of Turkish troops there during a speech back in November 2016.

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Another Turkish news agency, Dogan, reported that Turkish and allied forces had started an operation on Friday morning to take control of the town of Rajo in Afrin. Syrian state media said the aim is to defend Afrin.

Addressing a National Defense University graduation ceremony in Istanbul, Canikli said also 116 fighters of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) have also been killed in the operation.

The development comes days after the UN Security Council unanimously voted in favor of a resolution demanding a 30-day truce in Syria "without delay" to allow aid delivery and medical evacuations.

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

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