The wife (R) of a Turkish soldier killed in cross-border clashes with Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) forces in Afrin, reacts over his Turkish flag-draped coffin during a funeral ceremony in Istanbul on January 28, 2018. Photo:AFP/Yasin Akgul
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Seven Turkish soldiers were killed in Turkey’s military operation against the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) on Saturday, including five in an attack against a Turkish tank, the military said in a statement.
It is the highest death toll confirmed by the Turkish military in one day since the start of Operation Olive Branch against the Kurdish enclave in Syria’s northwestern canton of Afrin.
The Turkish military did not disclose the circumstances of the attacks.
Earlier in the day the army announced the death of two other Turkish soldiers, one in clashes with Kurdish fighters and another in the border areas.
The Turkish air force conducted airstrikes against the position where the Turkish military said the Kurdish fighters launched their attack on the tank.
Ankara has reported the death of 14 of its soldiers since January 20.
Turkey claims seven civilians inside Turkish territory have been killed by cross-border fire from the Syrian side under the control of the YPG. Kurdish forces deny any attacks outside the Syrian territory.
The YPG and its all-female counterpart, the YPJ, are the backbone of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
YPJ fighters destroyed a Turkish tank in Hafter village, Bulbul town, north of Afrin, the SDF said in a statement earlier in the day. The YPG also published the video apparently showing the moment of the attack.
Kurdish fighters were engaged in fighting against the Turkish military and its Syrian proxies on several fronts on Saturday, the SDF said, including in Bulbul, Shera, and Rajo districts north and northwest of Afrin city itself, and Jandaris to the southwest.
The fighting has so far resulted in the death of at least 68 civilians including 21 children and 12 women, two of them by YPG fire, according to the conflict monitor Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
Both Turkey and the SDF deny they target civilians.
Last updated at 10:18 p.m.