'We are at WAR' Turkish helicopter SHOT DOWN in Syria killing soldiers

Monday, 12 Feb, 2018

Sunday's announcement brings to 31 the number of Turkish soldiers killed since the operation against the Syrian Kurdish militia started on January 20 with Ankara's cross-border incursion into the enclave of Afrin.

Turkey launched "Operation Olive Branch" on January 20 to clear People's Protection Units (YPG) militants, backed by the United States while considered by Ankara as "terrorist group", from Afrin in northwestern Syria. Turkey considers the YPG to be "terrorists" and claims it is linked to an outlawed Kurdish insurgent group operating within Turkey's own borders.

They met the troops and were briefed regarding the ongoing operation.

Gen. McMaster, who led the USA delegation during the two-day diplomatic visit to Turkey, "discussed the priorities and concerns of both countries ... their common strategic challenges and regional developments" with İbrahim Kalın, spokesman and special adviser to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, according to a White House readout of the meeting released Sunday.

But the regime raids picked up again on Saturday night, killing six civilians and wounding more than 50 others, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitor said.

Saturday was the deadliest single day for Turkey, with 11 Turkish soldiers killed.

"At this stage, we can say that one out of two helicopters was downed".

Syria's war has killed more than 340,000 people and displaced millions since it erupted in 2011 with the brutal repression of anti-government protests. Israel's military has refused to acknowledge it was shot down.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's assault on the rebel-held region of Eastern Ghouta has continued despite global pleas for a ceasefire.

The military has also said that only terrorist targets are being destroyed and "utmost importance" is being put on avoiding harming civilians. In the east of the country, civilian casualties are reported in airstrikes and ground-based strikes in areas still under the control of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da'esh) primarily in Deir-ez-Zor governorate.