Eight Turkish soldiers were killed and 13 were wounded in clashes with the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) militia in the Afrin region of Syria, the Hürriyet daily reported on Thursday, based on a statement from the Turkish military. According to the report, the injured soldiers were taken to hospitals in Turkey’s Hatay province.
The number of Turkish troops killed during Turkish military’s offensive in Afrin has risen to 41, announced Turkish Defense Minister Nurettin Canikli on Friday. He said that the Free Syrian Army (FSA), on the other hand, has had 116 of its members killed. Canikli has also claimed that 95 villages or hamlets had come under their control, in a speech he delivered at İstanbul National Defense University.
The previous day was one of the deadliest for the Turkish army since the beginning of its military campaign. The Turkish General Staff said 8 soldiers were killed in clashes, while 13 others were wounded.
The Turkish military and Free Syrian Army (FSA) fighters on Jan. 20 launched Operation Olive Branch in the Afrin region of Syria against the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), which Turkey sees as the Syrian extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
Turkey with Free Syrian Army forces took control of the Jarablus and Al Bab areas in northern Syria during an operation against Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militants between August 2016 and March 2017.
Seventy-two soldiers were killed during Operation Euphrates Shield, which was evaluated as a strategic move to prevent unification of areas controlled by the Kurdish PYD.