Turkey orders arrest of 17 pro-Kurdish leaders over criticising Syria offensive

Syrian regime forces have been conducting intensified airstrikes on the region since Thursday morning

Syrian regime forces have been conducting intensified airstrikes on the region since Thursday morning

A follow-up statement released on the same day said two more Turkish soldiers were killed, and four were wounded in the military operations.

Syria's official state-run news agency SANA confirmed the deaths Thursday and labeled the strike an "aggression" and "new massacre".

The multi-sided conflict is raging on other fronts too, with Turkey waging a big offensive in a Kurdish-controlled area of northwestern Syria, the Afrin region, where Ankara is targeting Kurdish militia forces it sees as a threat to its security.

Syrian regime air strikes hit the rebel enclave of Eastern Ghouta raids on Saturday after five days of intense bombardments that killed more than 240 civilians, a war monitor said.

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

According to Turkish General Staff, the operation aims to establish security and stability along Turkish borders and the region as well as to protect the Syrian people from the oppression and cruelty of terrorists.

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.

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However, pro-Kurdish news sources said it was shot down in the village of Qude in Afrin's Rajo district.

The YPG said the Turkish army also targeted a slaughterhouse on Afrin's outskirts, heavily damaging the building and killing hundreds of sheep.

The Peoples' Democratic Party or HDP - the second largest opposition in the Turkish parliament - is voting Sunday in Ankara as lawmaker Selahattin Demirtas steps down.

The Observatory said government forces opened a corridor for Islamic State fighters to leave parts of Hama and Aleppo provinces, where they were under siege, and head for rebel-held Idlib province.

At least six were killed in Douma, including two children.

"This fighting is absolutely unacceptable, " she added.

"Children in eastern Ghouta are being starved, bombed and trapped", said Sonia Khush, the group's Syria Response Director.

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