Turkish soldiers killed, 11 injured in Afrin


Nauert said the U.S.is "extremely concerned" about the growing violence in eastern Ghouta, as well as in Idlib. It alleged the incident showed that Washington was not interested in fighting Islamic militants but wanted "to seize and hold Syrian economic assets".

"That is not realistic", Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia told reporters.

The United States backed the plea but Russian Federation - a longtime ally of Syria's government - shrugged it off.

The United States said Syrian pro-government forces initiated an attack on the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

SANA labeled it an "aggression" and a "new massacre".

The US-led coalition said it carried out air strikes against pro-government fighters to defend its allies in the eastern province of Deir Ezzor.

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According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a United Kingdom -based monitoring group, 59 civilians, including 15 children, have been killed on Thursday alone in eastern Ghouta. "The siege means there is nowhere for them to escape", said Sonia Khush, Save the Children's Syria response director.

"This is a threat to Turkey which Ankara has the natural right to fight under worldwide and domestic law", Yildirim added.

Israel's military has refused to acknowledge it was shot down.

The U.S. airstrike coincides with escalating violence in Syria.

Turkey insists that its operation in Afrin is "fully in line with worldwide law", saying that the presence of the Syrian Kurdish YPG in the area is a "security threat" to the country.

Rebels fired shells from Eastern Ghouta into Damascus, striking popular squares in and around the old city, Syrian state media reported.

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"These are the worst four days that Eastern Ghouta has ever gone through", said Hamza, an overwhelmed doctor at the Erbin clinic who was treating wounded patients.

Regarding the military casualties suffered by the Syrian Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), no accurate number was reported except for five fighters who lost their lives last week.

The Observatory said 211 people have been killed in eastern Ghouta since Monday.

"We are yet again appalled by the recent reports of the Assad regime's use of chemical weapons and the escalation of bombings that has resulted in dozens of civilian deaths in the last 48 hours".

France wants air strikes in Syria to end and calls for the opening of humanitarian corridors as soon as possible, the French defense minister has said on Friday.

Turkish officials say the leaders of Turkey, Russia and Iran will meet in Istanbul to discuss peace efforts for Syria.

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President Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday Turkey would strip the word "Turkish" from the name of its main medical association after the group publicly opposed the campaign.