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Turkish helicopter downed in Syria's Afrin - Erdogan

11 February 2018

A Turkish army helicopter was shot down by Syrian Kurdish YPG fighters near the north Syrian town of Afrin, President Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday, and the Turkish military said two soldiers on board the aircraft were killed.

Turkey resumed on Friday airstrikes in northern Syria's Kurdish enclave of Afrin after a brief lull, killing and wounding several people, the military and Kurdish officials said.

It has also become clear that Erdogan had a hidden agenda when he attacked the Kurds in Afrin and claimed he only wanted to cleanse the area of "terrorists" - meaning the Kurds, who defeated ISIS and Islamic State itself which has no presence in Afrin.

Turkey launched an offensive into the enclave three weeks ago to rout Syrian Kurdish fighters whom Ankara considers to be a security threat due to their links to outlawed rebels in Turkey. When the PYD realised that siding with the United States would be more likely to serve its interests, its militias offered themselves to the U.S. as the latter's boots on the ground in northern Syria.

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"We do not have any exact evidence and document regarding whether (or not) it was downed due to external intervention", he said. "Operation Olive Branch" was launched after the U.S. ignored its North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally's repeated calls to abandon arming and supporting Kurdish elements on its borders.

Afrin has been a major hideout for the PYD/PKK since July 2012 when the Assad regime in Syria left the city to the terror group without a fight. Russian Federation wants "to minimize its costs and losses in Syria in order to avoid jeopardizing Putin's narrative of having ended the civil war, " according to Cafarella.

In addition to border security, the Turkish General Staff says Operation Olive Branch is meant to protect Syrians from terrorist oppression and cruelty. After two days of discussions, the congress, brokered by Russia, Iran and Turkey, reaffirmed its full commitment to the "sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and unity" of Syria. Ankara says the militia group is an extension of the rebels fighting inside Turkey.

The Syrian Foreign Ministry also doubled down, calling the USA strikes "new aggression that poses a war crime and a crime against humanity".

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On Tuesday, the first direct confrontation between the pro-Assad coalition and the Turkish army was reported, when the sides traded artillery fire near Aleppo.

Syria has been gripped by a new and escalating round of violence in recent weeks.

The report said that since the start of the year, at least 11 children who attended Save the Children-supported schools, as well as one of the teachers, have been killed.

Turkey issued a detention warrant Friday against Kemalbey over her opposition to Turkey's current military offensive in northern Syria against the Syrian Kurdish People's Protection Units or YPG. "A fighting army can not rely so much on lies".

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Washington, however, continues to manipulate its "partners" to maintain a stronghold in Syria, and even mulled creating a 30,000-strong Kurdish dominant border force to secure control of Syria's north.