Alleged wreckage of a Turkish drone shot down in Afrin. Photo: Still from YPG video
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Kurdish forces in Afrin have shot down a Turkish drone (unmanned aerial vehicle, UAV) in Afrin on Monday, the YPG media office reported. There are heavy clashes ongoing in the self-autonomous region of northwest Syria.
“This is a Turkish UAV shot down by fighters in Afrin,” the YPG media office stated in a video showing images of wreckage.
Rudaw cannot independently verify the information.
Turkish planes shelled northwest and west areas of Afrin on Monday morning and there have been clashes between the YPG and the Turkish army with its Syrian proxies in multiple parts of the canton, according to Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
Turkish tanks shelled Nabi Huri and areas around Sheikh Horuz village in Bulbul district, northern Afrin, according to a local source who explained that Sheikh Horuz village is divided between the two battling forces.
Brusk Hasaka, spokesperson for YPG in Afrin, said in a statement on Monday that in the past 48 hours the Turkish army and their Syrian allies have seen great "losses" at the hands of the YPG who downed two helicopters, destroyed a number of tanks, and blew up a weapons depot.
As of Sunday, Turkey has confirmed 31 casualties amongst it ranks. According to the Observatory, 152 Kurdish fighters have been killed as well as 165 from the Turkish-backed Syrian forces.
At least 160 civilians have been killed, according to Afrin health officials. The Observatory has documented 74 civilian deaths.
Turkey denies targeting civilians. Turkish chief of staff Gen. Hulusi Akar said on Sunday during his visit to Hatay region that they "would not harm innocent people and civilians."
Akar was accompanied by Turkish military commanders and the aim of their visit was to "investigate and examine the Operation Olive Branch [developments] in Hatay region," read a statement from Turkish Armed Forces (TAF).
"The main objective of the operation is to bring peace, security and stability to Afrin and the bordering area, save the people of the region from the oppression of the terrorists and return our Syrian brothers to their homes in a safe way," claimed Akar.
The YPG’s Hasaka, responding to the general’s visit, said "the aim of the visit was to give directions and draw new military plans for his field commanders because they had not made any of the military progress they had been tasked to achieve."
Turkey launched its Operation Olive Branch on January 20.