Eight Turkish Soldiers Killed in North Syria Offensive

  • Eight Turkish Soldiers Killed in North Syria Offensive

Eight Turkish Soldiers Killed in North Syria Offensive

On Jan. 20, Turkey launched "Operation Olive Branch" to clear YPG militants from Afrin in northwestern Syria, as Ankara considers the YPG as the Syrian affiliates of the PKK, a terrorist organization listed by Turkey, the USA and EU.

The Syrian government has already condemned the "brutal Turkish aggression" against Afrin, rejecting Ankara's claim about having informed Damascus of the operation.

The air strikes mark a major escalation between Turkey, the main backer of Syria's opposition fighters trying to remove President Bashar Assad from power, and Syrian pro-government forces, backed by Iran.

The Observatory says more than 140 civilians have been killed in Turkish bombardment, but Turkey denies the claim and says it takes the "utmost care" to avoid civilian casualties. The Lebanon-based Al-Mayadeen TV said Turkish warplanes had killed 18 pro-government gunmen, while 19 more are missing.

Syrian state news agency said Turkish forces killed 20 people in Afrin, without providing details.

Eight Turkish soldiers were killed in Syria's northwestern region of Afrin on Thursday as the Turkish-led Operation Olive Branch continues in the region, according to separate Turkish General Staff statements.

Washington warned Ankara that its offensive in Syrian Kurdistan distracts Kurdish fighters from the war against the Islamic State (IS).

According to the report, a Turkish helicopter sent to rescue the wounded had return after being hit, while the area was shelled to allow an evacuation.

Near the capital, Damascus, a five-hour truce went into effect on Friday, the fourth this week, with no civilians leaving the city's rebel-held suburbs known as eastern Ghouta.

Turkey has rejected a call from the USA for Afrin to be included in a UN Security Council-agreed nationwide ceasefire in Syria.