Six soldiers were killed in YPG attacks in Afrin, while another solider lost his life in an attack on the Turkish border town of Kilis. An eighth soldier succumbed to wounds he sustained last week.
Eight soldiers have died in the deadliest day for Turkey since the start of Operation Olive Branch to clear Syria’s Afrin region of the YPG terrorist organisation.
On Saturday, one Turkish soldier was killed in clashes with the YPG, and another in the Turkish border town of Kilis in an attack perpetrated by the same terror group, according to a statement released by the Turkish Armed Forces.
Later in the day, five soldiers were killed when the YPG attacked a tank with an anti-tank missile in Sheikh Haruz, northeast of Afrin.
The United States has been arming the YPG militants with advanced weaponry including anti-tank missiles.
TRT World’s Arabella Munro reports.
Immediately after the attack at Sheikh Haruz, an air operation targeting terrorist shelters, hideouts and weapon depot in the area was launched.
Another soldier, wounded on February 1 in a missile attack by the YPG/PKK in Hakkari’s border district of Cukurca, succumbed to his wounds on Saturday,
That attack was launched from northern Iraq toward a military base.
According to a security source, Saturday's casualties bring the total number of Turkish soldiers killed to 13.
Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch on January 20 to secure its border against the YPG/PKK terrorist organisation.
The operation started days after the US announced the formation of a 30,000-strong "Border Security Force" composed of YPG and SDF militants near Turkey's border in northern Syria.
The announcement was met with alarm by Ankara, which considers the YPG to be the Syrian branch of the PKK, which is a designated terrorist organisation in Turkey, the US and EU.
Turkey’s biggest security concern is that the YPG is carving out an autonomous territory near its southeastern border.
A total of 899 YPG/PKK and Daesh terrorists have been "neutralised" since the beginning of Operation Olive Branch according to the Turkish General Staff, with a total of 538 terrorist targets hit.
Turkish authorities often use the word "neutralised" in their statements to imply the terrorists in question either surrendered or were killed or captured.
Civilian areas targeted
Since the start of the operation, the YPG/PKK has carried out cross-border attacks on Turkey by firing rockets on neighborhoods in the border towns of Kilis and Reyhanli.
These rockets have hit civilian homes and businesses, killing several, including 17-year-old Fatma Avlar, who was asleep when a rocket struck her house.