Turkish Defence Ministry Says One Soldier Killed, Another Wounded by Kurdish Militants in Syria
09:18 20.10.2019(updated 09:56 20.10.2019)
A five-day ceasefire in the region was announced on Saturday after talks between President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and US Vice President Mike Pence, however, Turkey has already accused the Kurdish militia of attacking its armed forces. The SDF denied the claims, also accusing Ankara of breaking the deal to carry out attacks on them.
One Turkish serviceman has died and another has been injured during a clash with Kurdish-led forces near the Syrian city of Tell Abiad, the Turkish Ministry of Defence announced on Sunday.
"One of our heroic comrades became a martyr and another was wounded after anti-tank and small arms fire by... terrorists during their reconnaissance and surveillance mission", the official statement read.
On 13 October, Turkish newspapers reported that during an offensive by the army and Ankara-backed Free Syrian Army against the Kurdish People's Defence Units (YPG), around 525 militants were "neutralised".
Ankara launched its Operation Peace Spring in Northern Syria on 9 October in a bid to drive the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) from its borders, because Turkish authorities believe they are affiliated with the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), banned in the country as a terrorist group.
The decision was criticised by Washington, Brussels, and the Arab League, resulting in sanctions against Ankara by the US and arms sales being halted by France and Germany.
The op has also led to the Syrian Arab Army boosting its presence in the region, allying themselves with the Kurdish groups and reclaiming several cities. The Syrian forces have also reportedly clashed with the Turkish-backed militants near the border city of Ras al-Ayn.
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