Syria war: Deadliest day for Turkey as eight soldiers killed in Afrin offensive
On Saturday, eight Turkish soldiers were killed, according to a Turkish army statement. Five of the troops died when their tank was attacked in the Afrin region, the AlJazeera reported.
Turkey has now lost 14 soldiers in fierce clashes during the offensive.
Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim promised to retaliate in a statement on Twitter.
"They will pay for this twice as much. We have given the necessary response instantly, and we continue to do so," Yildirim said.
"Zeytin Dalı Harekatı'nda ne yazık ki şehitlerimiz var. Şehitlerimize Allah'tan rahmet diliyorum. Bunun hesabını misliyle ödeyecekler. Gereken karşılığı anında veriyoruz, vermeye de devam ediyoruz."
— T.C. Başbakanlık (@TC_Basbakan) February 3, 2018
Immediately after the attack at Sheikh Haruz, an air operation targeting YPG positions and weapon storages in the area was launched, the army said.
Turkey says it has killed some 900 Kurdish fighters, but this cannot be independently verified.
Meanwhile, Syrian rebels shot down a Russian warplane in northwestern Idlib province on Saturday, the Russian defence ministry said.
The pilot of the aircraft, a Sukhoi 25, used his ejection seat after his plane was hit by a man-carried portable air defence missile.
He was later killed when rebels tried to capture him.
"The pilot managed to report the ejection in the area controlled by the militants of Jabhat al-Nusra, but later he died fighting the terrorists," a statement by the Russian ministry of defence said.
The downing of the aircraft has been claimed by Hay'et Tahrir al-Sham, commonly known as Tahrir al-Sham. The group is spearheaded by the former al-Nusra Front, which used to be al-Qaeda's branch in Syria.
Moscow has retaliated with dozens of attacks in which at least 10 civilians were killed, according to local activists. Russia says it has killed 30 fighters.
There has been heavy fighting in Idlib for weeks. The UN says about 100,000 civilians have been displaced.
Turkey has taken more Syrian refugees than any other nation.
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