Ankara, Feb. 4 (TNS): The Turkish military suffered the deadliest day in its offensive against Kurdish militias inside northern Syria, with seven soldiers killed, Turkish officials say here on Sunday.
Five of the troops died when their tank was attacked in the Afrin region.
PM Binali Yildirim vowed to make the militias “pay for this twice as much” and jets later struck Kurdish targets north-east of the city of Afrin.
Turkey’s “Olive Branch” operation was launched on 20 January to drive the Kurdish YPG militia out of Afrin.
Turkey views the YPG (People’s Protection Units) as a terrorist group and an extension of the banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has fought for Kurdish autonomy in south-eastern Turkey for three decades.
The military said in a statement that the US-backed YPG attacked the tank in Sheikh Haruz, north-east of Afrin city.
Two other soldiers were killed earlier, the military said, one in Afrin and another on the Turkish side of the border in an attack blamed on the YPG.
Turkey has now lost 14 soldiers in fierce clashes during the offensive.