Two Turkish soldiers killed, 5 more injured in Afrin operation, military
Turkish-backed Syrian rebel fighters drive toward the Turkish-Syrian border in Kilis, near ton January 30, 2018, as part ot the operation “Olive Branch” against Kurdish fighters in Syria. File photo:AFP/ Ozan Kose
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Two Turkish soldiers have been killed, and five more injured as part of the Olive Branch Operation against the Kurdish fighters in control of the Kurdish enclave of Afrin on Sunday, the army said in a statement.
The soldiers were killed in a mortar attack against a Turkish outpost located inside the Turkish province of Hatay on the border with Syrian Kurdistan or Rojava, the Turkish military added without disclosing further details.
The Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), the backbone of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces has so far denied they conduct cross-border attacks.
SDF reported clashes against the Turkish military and its Syrian proxies on a number of fronts including in Bulbul, Shiye north and west of Afrin city, northwestern Syria.
The Kurdish-led force claimed they destroyed a Turkish tank and killed all who were inside it. But there was no immediate confirmation from the Turkish side.
Seven Turkish soldiers were killed on Saturday including five in an attack on a Turkish tank, the deadliest for the Turkish military since the military incursion into Rojava began on January 20.
Turkey has admitted the deaths of 16 soldiers as of Sunday.
A Christian group allied with the SDF said in a statement that they have sent the Kurdish enclave reinforcements to fight against the Turkish forces.
“While we are trying to complete the liberation of the rest of the Syrian territory from the remnants of terrorists who have committed crimes against the land, people, history and civilization, the barbaric Turkish attack and bombardment continues on the Afrin region for the second week in a row,” an official letter published by the Syriac Military Council (MFS) on Sunday stated.
MSF is an Assyrian/Syriac Christian group in Syria working in collaboration with the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) which number over 2,000 fighters.
The group operates in the Assyrian majority areas of the Hasakah Governorate in Jazira canton.
MFS accuses Turkey of having a colonial mindset and renewal of its Ottoman “fascism” and heritage, recounting the Sayfo genocide in 1915 committed against the Chaldean-Syriac-Assyrian, Armenian, and Greek Pontics.
“Today, in the face of a new front in Afrin, as a sign of friendships of peoples, MFS decided to send reinforcements to Afrin to defend the people from Turkish invasions and attacks and its terrorist mercenaries,” the statement further added.
The group calls on the international community to help the Syriac Christians.
A total of 134 FSA and Turkish fighters have been reportedly killed while 106 YPG fighters have been killed, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR).
The Turkish operation has claimed the lives of 68 civilians, 21 of whom are children and 12 women, also reported by SOHR.