TEHRAN (Press Shia) – Seven Turkish soldiers have been killed in an offensive against Kurdish militia in Syria, including five who died in a single attack on a tank, Turkey’s army has said.
The losses marked the highest toll in one day for the Turkish military in Operation Olive Branch, launched on 20 January against the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) militia, seen by Ankara as a terrorist group.
The assault on the tank on Saturday, details of which were not disclosed, was also the single deadliest attack on the Turkish military of the offensive so far.
The clashes brought the number of Turkish troops killed so far in the operation to 14, AFP reported.
The Turkish army and allied Ankara-backed Syrian militants are seeking to oust the YPG from its western border stronghold of Afrin. The operation so far has been marked by fierce clashes.
In retaliation for the latest attacks on Turkish forces, war planes carried out airstrikes on the area, destroying shelters and munitions dumps, the army said.
Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, said on Thursday the Turkish army and Ankara-backed militants had recorded 25 deaths between them.
Meanwhile, seven civilians have been killed in mortar fire on the Turkish side of the border, with Ankara blaming the YPG.
Ankara says major progress has been made in the 15-day operation, with almost 900 YPG fighters killed so far, although it is not possible to verify these figures.