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Turkish T129 attack helicopter shot down in Afrin

11 February 2018

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.

Prime Minister Binali Yildirim told reporters the downed chopper was a T129 ATAK helicopter, and was shot down in Kirikhan district of Hatay province, killing two soldiers.

Separately, the Turkish military said on Friday the construction of a fifth military post near Syria's northwestern region of Idlib had begun.

Mr Erdoğan who spoke on Saturday in Istanbul did not disclose the name of the Syrian Kurdish People's Protection Units or YPG.

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Turkey considers the YPG in Syria a terror organization and an extension of Kurdish insurgents fighting for autonomy for more than three decades in Turkey.

"Operation Olive Branch" was launched after the United States ignored its North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally's repeated calls to abandon arming and supporting Kurdish elements on its borders. She added that around 60,000 had been displaced. Meanwhile, Moscow took advantage of the battle in Afrin to revive its relations with Syria's Kurds, which are crucial for Russian Federation as the Kurds now control almost one-third of Syria and this could improve Russia's position in the country.

Erdogan claimed that 1141 "terrorists" had been "neutralised" in the operation, which includes those captured dead or alive, or those who surrendered.

"To the end of a quick conquest, Ankara resumes its campaign of airstrikes", he said, pointing out the asymmetrical aspect of Turkey's undeclared war on the Syrian Kurds with hi-tech, advanced military hardware the former was using.

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A USA military official said the US-led coalition had killed at least 100 pro-regime fighters overnight in eastern Syria.

The attack helicopter came down near Qaddah village, in Syria, where Turkey is carrying out an offensive against Kurdish fighters. The operation has run into determined Kurdish resistance, with seven Turkish soldiers killed at the weekend.In neighboring Idlib, the Syrian army - backed by Russian airpower - is making advances from the south. "It abandoned the Kurds when Turkey made a decision to attack them in Afrin, and it has declared it has no ties with any Kurdish forces in the area".

"The past week has been one of the bloodiest periods of the entire conflict, with wave after wave of deadly airstrikes leading to civilian casualties in areas of Eastern Ghouta and Idlib", Zeid said in a strongly worded statement.

Some shops reopened in Douma, Erbin and Hammuriyeh, and residents were seen sweeping up rubble outside their homes as others salvaged what they could from destroyed houses, AFP correspondents said.

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