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YPG spokesperson says Turkey bogged down in Afrin

11 February 2018

In another development on Saturday, two Turkish soldiers were killed after a military helicopter was downed during the Afrin operation.

As Turkish Armed Forces continued to deploy military vehicles at the border close to the operation area, smoke was seen rising from various fields in Syria. "Eleven members of the PYD [Kurdish Democratic Union Party], the YPG [Kurdish People's Protection Units] and IS [Daesh] terrorist organizations were killed", the statement said.

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.

"These things will happen; we are in a war".

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Another 11 soldiers were injured after the offensive's bloodiest day for Turkish military personnel, the army said.

Turkey launched an offensive into the enclave on January 20 against Syrian Kurdish fighters that Ankara considers to be a security threat due to their links to outlawed rebels in Turkey.

The Turkish military in a statement did not specify a reason for why the helicopter fell.

The Turkish president also expressed condolences on the death of Russian military pilot Roman Filipov, who blew himself up with a grenade after being surrounded by Nusra Front militants as his fighter jet was shot down when overflying a de-escalation zone in the province of Idlib in northwestern Syria.

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Turkey agreed to set up 12 observation posts in Idlib and neighbouring provinces under a deal reached with Tehran and Moscow to try to reduce fighting between pro-government forces and mainly Islamist insurgents in northwest Syria.

Yildirim earlier said Turkey had not launched its operation in Afrin to enter into a war or because it had "an eye" on another country's territory.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a monitoring group, says at least 68 civilians have been killed.

The United Nations has been sounding the alarm about the escalating level of violence, and called on Tuesday for a humanitarian truce of at least one month to allow for aid deliveries and evacuations of the wounded.

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"It has been now nearly 60 days since we had the last convoy to a besieged area", Jakob Kern, the WFP country director in Syria, told Reuters in a phone interview from Damascus. "I think that is indicative of the state of relations right", said Noah Bonsey, International Crisis Group's Senior Analyst on Syria.

YPG spokesperson says Turkey bogged down in Afrin