Turkish forces push into Syria as Afrin offensive enters fourth week

Tillerson's Turkey visit Will it help mend ties

According to a statement by the Turkish General Staff, Akar was accompanied by Commander of the Turkish Land Forces Gen. Yasar Guler and Turkish Air Forces Commander Gen. Hasan Kucukakyuz. The campaign followed Ankara's promises to "strangle" the new Border Security Force (BSF) in Syria.

Two Turkish soldiers have died after their helicopter was shot down during Ankara's military operation against Syrian Kurdish fighters in northern Syria.

Mustefa Bali, spokesperson 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.

More than 20 Turkish soldiers and 150 YPG fighters have been killed since the military offensive began, he said.

Five of those, including two children, were killed in the region's main town of Douma, Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman said.

"One of our helicopters was downed just recently", Erdogan said as he spoke at a ruling Justice and Development Party's (AKP) provincial meeting in Istanbul.

There was no mention of the ongoing war or words between Ankara, which is engaged in a brutal counterterrorism operation in the northern Syrian enclave of Afrin, and USA and coalition commanders who are warning Turkish forces to stay out of American-controlled territory in Manbij and northeastern Syria.

Turkish forces push into Syria as Afrin offensive enters fourth week
Turkish forces push into Syria as Afrin offensive enters fourth week

The two men evaluated regional developments, factors that have damaged relations between the allies and developing ways of combating terrorism, a Turkish presidential source said, but provided no further details.

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

Saturday was the deadliest single day for Turkey, with 11 Turkish soldiers killed.

Afrin region is the area where the Turkish army along with its allied factions from the Free Syrian Army continue their Olive Branch operation, which entered its fourth week on Saturday.

In a statement, the military said the Turkish Armed Forces had "destroyed" 36 YPG targets and "neutralized" 79 YPG militants in airstrikes that were carried out overnight on February 10.

His remarks came during his visit to southern Hatay province to inspect troops taking part in Operation Olive Branch in Syria's Afrin.

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