Turkish Warplanes Pound Syria's Afrin District


In a separate incident, two Turkish Armed Forces personnel were killed when an attack helicopter crashed in Syria's Afrin during the ongoing Operation Olive Branch on February 10, Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said.

Sunday's announcement brings to 31 the number of Turkish soldiers killed since the operation against the Syrian Kurdish militia started on January 20 with Ankara's cross-border incursion into the enclave of Afrin.

The main Kurdish militia in northern Syria, known as the People's Protection Units, or YPG, said in a statement that airstrikes on the town and nearby villages since Thursday night wounded at least three people.

Turkey considers the YPG to be the Syrian affiliates of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

Ankara has consistently denied any civilian casualties, with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan claiming his army could execute the mission in Afrin "in several days [if it] used all of its warplanes, tanks, and helicopters, leveling everything coming in its way".

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Yildirim told reporters the downed chopper was a T129 ATAK helicopter, and was shot down in Kirikhan district of Hatay province. The Turkish military later said nine more soldiers were killed in separate incidents but did not give details.

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

Mustefa Bali, spokesman for the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces dominated by the YPG, said on Twitter that a helicopter had been hit in the Rajo area of northwest Afrin, near the Turkish border. The Turkish president said, "We might lose a helicopter but they'll pay the price for this".

Turkey continued its operations Sunday, targeting YPG areas with air and artillery strikes.

Turkey has lost 30 soldiers in the operation in Afrin, according to data compiled from the military statements.

"We are in a war".

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Maintaining independence of countries and their geographical borders will help promote stability in the region, he said.

More than 200 people, including 58 children, were killed in air raids on the Eastern Ghouta by the Russian-allied Syrian government this week, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Eastern Ghouta is home to an estimated 400,000 people -the area is located on the outskirts of Damascus, and residents have been living under siege since 2013.

YPG is the main fighting force of the US -backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which played a key role in the ongoing fight against the Islamic State terror group in the region.

"You start with asking for restraint and look for ways that you can help bring it to an end as quickly as possible", the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

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The U.S. delegation numbers 244 but not all athletes participated due to their training or competition schedules. The two Koreas technically remain at war as the 1950-53 Korean War ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty.