Turkish troops killed in deadliest day of Kurdish offensive

Turkish helicopter shot down

Turkish helicopter shot down

The SDF said clashes continued late into the night around Deir Balloot, and claimed credit for downing down a * a href="https://newswire.storyful.com/storylines/*/stories/194884" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noopener" *Turkish helicopter near Afrin.

The Turkish General Staff also said on Saturday that the armed forces "destroyed" 36 targets and "neutralized" 79 militants in the airstrikes carried out in the Afrin region overnight.The Turkish Operation Olive Branch in the Afrin region in northern Syria entered its fourth week on Saturday.

Turkish jets on February 11 destroyed targets in northwestern Syria within the range of the southern Turkish border district of Hatay.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan warned those who shot down the helicopter will "surely pay a heavy price for it".

Top U.S. military commanders, including Central Command chief Gen. Joseph Votel, have said the Pentagon is not considering any withdrawal of U.S. forces from Manbij or the larger eastern Euphrates River Valley.

Last Saturday, seven Turkish troops died in the second worst single-day loss of the operation so far, with five killed in a tank attack.

Syrian Kurdish officials charge Turkey with having collaborated with IS and allying with al-Qaeda.

An Iraqi special forces soldier takes cover behind a humvee during an Islamic State fighter car bomb suicide attack in Tahrir neighbourhood of Mosul
REUTERS

It added its military killed 39 militants.

But the agency later tweeted that the helicopter was downed in Syria itself, citing the Turkish prime minister, Binali Yildirim.

The operation is being carried out under the framework of Turkey's rights based on worldwide law, UN Security Council resolutions, its self-defense rights under the UN charter, and respect for Syria's territorial integrity, it said.

"Of course, these kinds of things will happen".

At least 17 Turkish military personnel have been killed in the three-week offensive to clear Afrin of the Kurdish YPG militia.

Turkey on January 20 launched Operation Olive Branch to remove Partiya Yekitiya Demokrat/Kurdistan Workers' Party and the Islamic State from Afrin.

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