ANKARA: Eleven Turkish soldiers were killed on Saturday, including two military personnel when a helicopter was downed, in the bloodiest day in Ankara´s offensive against a Kurdish militia in northern Syria.
On January 20, Turkey launched a military operation against the Kurdish People´s Protection Units (YPG) militia in the Afrin region, backing Syrian rebels with air strikes and ground troops.
“At this stage, we can say that one out of two helicopters was downed. We have two martyrs,” Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said in televised remarks.
The Turkish military later said nine more soldiers were killed in separate incidents but did not give details. Another 11 soldiers were injured after the offensive´s bloodiest day for Turkish military personnel, the army said.
Yildirim said the helicopter was on a mission in the Afrin region as part of Ankara´s offensive dubbed Operation “Olive Branch”.
Ankara says the YPG is a “terrorist” offshoot of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers´ Party (PKK), which has waged a three-decade insurgency inside Turkey and is blacklisted by Washington and the European Union.– APP/AFP